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ALL SCRIPTS


                      SAVE THE LAST DANCE


                               by

                         Duane G. Adler

                          revisions by

                        Toni-Ann Johnson


                      Current Revisions by

                    Cheryl Edwards (6/11/99)




REWRITE -- FIRST SET OF REVISIONS

Cort/Madden Company
Paramount Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue
Chevalier Building, Ste. 203
Los Angeles, California

JUNE 11, 1999

    FADE IN:

1   EXT. PENNSYLVANIA COUNTRYSIDE - LONG SHOT - DAY            1

    of an empty stretch of land parted down the middle by
    railroad tracks. An Amtrak Commuter crests the horizon,
    heads TOWARD us. As it gets CLOSER, we GO IN TIGHTER to
    see --


2   FACE OF SARA JOHNSON                                       2

    17, pressed at one of its windows.


3   REVERSE ANGLE - REFLECTION IN TRAIN'S WINDOW -             3
    SARA'S FACE

    distant and lovely and sad. SUPERIMPOSED against an
    endless stream of sky and trees. The train speeds up and
    SARA's face flies by, disappearing FROM FRAME.


4   INT. AMTRAK TRAIN - MOVING - DUSK                          4

    A zaftig BLACK WOMAN clumsily negotiates the aisle.
    Stops at the first of a few empty seats left in the car.

                             WOMAN
               This seat taken?


    ANGLE ON SARA

    looking up, around. She shakes her head, clears her
    backpack and magazines from the seat beside her. The
    Woman drops down, settles in. A long silence. The Woman
    glances at the American Ballet magazine on Sara's lap.
    Tries to make conversation.

                             WOMAN
               I love ballet. Never had the body
               for it. Do you dance?

    Sara folds her arms, turns away mumbling under breath.

                            SARA
               Used to.

    Sara gazes out the window. The world outside begins to
    dissolve melting into images from another time, another
    place. Her eyes stare blankly OUT AT us, blinded by her
    memories.

                                                            2.

5   FLASHBACK - INT. AUDITORIUM - KINDERGARTEN RECITAL - DAY 5

    A stage full of five-year-olds in tights and tutus. A
    little girl performs center stage. She's remarkably
    poised, remarkably good. CAMERA PANS TO the audience. A
    woman in an Irish clover necklace springs to her feet
    clapping loudly. The little girl's eyes catch the glint
    of the necklace's gold. Mommy. She flashes a megawatt
    smile, ends the dance with an unscripted bow, as we...

                                                   DISSOLVE TO:


6   INT. BALLET CLASS - EVENING (FIVE YEARS LATER)                6

    Young Sara, lithe and earnest, dances. A budding beauty
    blessed with long limbs and natural grace, she makes it
    look easy. Gliding past the envious stares of
    classmates, she scans the hall for a glint of gold.
    Finds it in the back of the room where her mother, Glynn,
    stands watching her. Their eyes connect with mutual
    smiles and those smiles CARRY us TO:


7   INT. SARA'S EXETER HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY                  7

    A pair of flexing feet in ballet slippers on a hardwood
    floor. PAN UP and PULL BACK to reveal Sara at 17,
    dancing in the space opened up by cornered furniture and
    rolled up rugs. As Glynn looks on, Sara completes the
    routine with a pirouette. She spins out of it with a
    preoccupied frown on her face.

                            GLYNN
               What's the matter?   It was good.

                            SARA
                    (checks her
                     stance in mirror)
             Everybody there's going to be
             good, Mom. I have to be better.
                    (then, beginning
                     again)
             My knees still knock when I do my
             free form. Did you notice that?

                           GLYNN
             I noticed that it was fine.

                           SARA
                    (escalating
                     frustration)
             It's not supposed to be fine.
             It's supposed to be special.
                           (MORE)

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                              3.

7   CONTINUED:                                                     7

                           SARA (CONT'D)
             And it just lays there, it doesn't
             do anything. I bet they notice
             that. That it doesn't do
             anything. That I don't do
             anything special enough to get in.

                                GLYNN
                 Sara.   You'll get in.

                               SARA
                 Don't lie because you love me.     My
                 free form sucks.

                               GLYNN
                        (giving up that
                         battle)
                 I've got something for you. Come
                 on. Sit. Mouth closed, eyes
                 shut. No pouting. No peeking.

    Sara flops down on the sofa beside her. Closes her eyes.
    Glynn removes the clover chain from her neck, fastens it
    around Sara's.

                               GLYNN
                 For luck tomorrow. Not that
                 you'll need it. You dance like an
                 angel.

    The necklace is Glynn's talisman. Sara knows what it
    means to her. She throws her arms around Glynn, holds
    onto her tightly.

                               SARA
                 I love the necklace but you're
                 still the best luck I'll ever
                 have.

    Glynn, not one to choke up, chokes up.        They cling to
    each other.


8   INT. AMTRAK TRAIN (MOVING) - ON SARA - DUSK (PRESENT)          8

    In the blink of her eyes, the memory fades. She pulls
    the window shade, shifts in her seat. Her fingers travel
    to the clover necklace at her throat. Linger. The Woman
    regards her.

                               WOMAN
                 Nice... the necklace.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                               4.

8    CONTINUED:                                                     8

                                SARA
                  Oh. It's a good luck charm.
                  Doesn't always work.

     The Woman's wearing a crucifix.     She indicates it.
     Smiles.

                                 WOMAN
                  Mine either.


9    FLASHBACK - INT./EXT. BUS/RURAL ROAD - MORNING                 9

     A sea of young white faces. A jock entertains the troops
     with two straws up his nose. Sara sits next to her best
     friend, LINDSAY, 17. Lindsay, chomping on a wad of gum,
     turns from the jock to Sara with a bubble in bloom,
     bursts it with her teeth.

                                LINDSAY
                  Wanna pray? You're leaving for
                  Philly after first period. I
                  won't see you. We should pray.

                                SARA
                         (stupefied)
                  Lindsay... no. Not here.

     Lindsay grabs Sara's hand and bows her head.      Sara,
     embarrassed, aligns her head with Lindsay's.      She's
     praying nobody sees them.

                                LINDSAY
                  'Awesome, Father, S.J. auditions
                  today. She's ready for them.
                  Please make them ready for her.
                  Even if she screws up. Thanks.
                  Amen.'
                         (sure shrug; another
                          bubble)
                  God's gotten me outta all kinds of
                  shit. He oughta be able to get
                  you into Juilliard.


10   EXT. EXETER SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL - LATER THAT MORNING            10

     Sara exits with a bouquet of roses, takes the steps two
     and three at a time. Glynn's waiting in a flower van at
     the curb.

                                                             5.

11   INT./EXT. FLOWER VAN (DRIVING)/RESIDENTIAL STREETS           11

     Sara and Glynn. The back of the van is filled with
     flower arrangements. Glynn takes note of the roses in
     Sara's hand.

                             GLYNN
               Where'd you get those, traitor?

                             SARA
               Ellison -- Mr. Ellison. He
               actually told me to break a leg.

                             GLYNN
               Roses from the principal, even
               droopy, out-of-season yellow ones,
               is beyond cool, kiddo. You're
               definitely movin' up in the world.

     Sara looks through the windshield.   It's starting to
     drizzle.

                             SARA
               Know what would be great? If you
               didn't drop me off at the bus
               station. If we just kept going
               until we get to Philly.

                             GLYNN
               Ruin everyone's Valentine's Day
               and not have a shop when I get
               back. That's your definition of
               great? I can see the headline
               now: 'Starving Artist Kills Unfit
               Mother.'
                      (gently)
               Sweetheart, we talked about this.
               I'll get there as soon as I can.

     Sara looks at her and Glynn instantly feels guilty.

                             SARA
               Right. This is the hardest, most
               important day of my life and all
               you can do is get there as soon as
               you can. Thanks, Mom.


12   EXT. GREYHOUND BUS STATION (READING, PA) -                   12
     CONTINUOUS ACTION

     Glynn pulls the van into the parking lot. Smiles at
     Sara. Sara doesn't smile back. She's too angry. Too
     scared.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                             6.

12   CONTINUED:                                                   12

                                SARA
                  So I guess I'll see you later.

                                GLYNN
                  I won't miss your audition, Sara.
                  I'll be there, okay? If I have to
                  swim the Susquehanna, I'll be
                  there.

                                 SARA
                  Swim?   You can't swim, Mom.

                             GLYNN
               I'll float then.

     A moment. They look at each other. Sara finally smiles.
     They embrace and she hops out the van. Glynn calls after
     her.

                             GLYNN
               Hey... Happy Valentine's Day.


13   INT. AMTRAK TRAIN (MOVING) - ON SARA - NIGHT (PRESENT)       13

     Feigning sleep. From the corner of her eye, she watches
     the Woman beside her flip through the American Ballet
     Magazine. We move back in time through their pages.


14   FLASHBACK - INT. UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - WAITING        14
     ROOM - DAY

     Sara, in costume, flips through a magazine. She taps her
     toes, checks her watch. A phalanx of parents and dancers
     are clustered around a sign posted on the door:
     JUILLIARD SCHOOL OF DANCE AUDITIONS. Sara stares at it.
     Re-checks her watch. An official with a clipboard walks
     toward her. Where's her mother?


15   INT. UNIV. OF PENNSYLVANIA - STAGE/AUDITORIUM -              15
     MOMENTS LATER

     Sara on stage. She looks past a row of Juilliard JUDGES
     into the audience. No glint of gold. MOZART'S "Elvira
     Madigan" (Andante) CUES UP. Sara begins her technical.
     She transforms her nervousness into a notable, powerful
     performance. The Judges are mutely but clearly
     impressed. One of them looks directly at her.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                          7.

15   CONTINUED:                                                  15

                                JUDGE
                  Is there anything you'd like to
                  share about your free form before
                  you begin? A motif... a theme?

     Sara's stomach drops to her feet. Her mother's not there
     and her free form sucks and she doesn't have a theme.
     Shit!

                                SARA
                  Well, it's um, pretty self-
                  explanatory. The theme.

     The Judges exchange a look. New MUSIC CUES UP. Some
     driving, CLASSICAL NUMBER.   Sara tries to elevate her
     body above the music, but she's nervous, unsure on her
     feet. She keeps glancing in the back of the auditorium
     for Glynn. Searching for her port in the storm.
     Wondering where her mother is and knowing how badly she's
     dancing. Knowing but somehow continuing, stumbling,
     recovering, and finally finishing with those damned
     knocking knees. The Judges, eyes like stones,
     perfunctorily nod. Their equivalent of maybe next year.
     Sara chokes two words out...

                                SARA
                  Thank you.


16   INT. AUDITORIUM - BACKSTAGE

     ... Rushes backstage. Fighting tears, she hurries past
     waiting dancers angrily unhooking the clover leaf chain
     from her neck.


17   INT. DRESSING ROOM - DAY                                    17

     Sara in street clothes. Cramming her ballet gear into a
     duffle bag when the official (of the clipboard)
     approaches her. She touches Sara's shoulder gently.
     Says something we do not hear.


18   INT. OFFICE (UNIV. OF PA) - CONTINUOUS ACTION               18

     SHOOTING THROUGH office window. A state trooper in a
     rain slicker offers Sara a chair. She sits. The trooper
     talks. As he does, dread and disbelief spread over
     Sara's face. She shakes her head, attempts to stand.
     Her legs buckle beneath her. The trooper and the
     official catch her as she falls.

                                                          8.

19   EXT. AMTRAK TRAIN - NIGHT (PRESENT)                         19

     A glowing moon in a clear, star-specked sky.


20   TRAIN                                                      20

     CHUGS toward Baltimore's Penn Station, which is visible
     in the f.g.


21   EXT. PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE - INTERCUT - MORNING             21

     A torrential rain. A flower van -- Glynn's van -- caught
     in it. SHOOTING THROUGH the driver's side window, we can
     see Glynn's face, intense and determined, squinting
     through the downpour.


22   TRAIN'S WHEELS                                              22

     GRINDING.


23   VAN'S WHEELS                                                23

     Hydro-planing, slip-sliding.


24   TRAIN                                                       24

     It's SQUEAL OF BRAKES as it maneuvers into the station.


25   VAN                                                         25

     The SQUEAL of its BRAKES as Glynn loses control and
     smashes into the back of the eighteen wheeler in front of
     her.


26   TRAIN                                                       26

     across space and time, the SOUND OF SQUEALING BRAKES
     commingle as the Amtrak Commuter pulls into Penn Station.


27   INT. AMTRAK TRAIN - NIGHT                                   27

     Sara. Holding her breath, clenching her fists. Waiting
     for the sound to stop, oblivious to the stare of the
     Woman beside her.

                                                            9.

28   EXT. PENN STATION (BALTIMORE) - PLATFORM - NIGHT            28

     ROY JOHNSON, 37, a handsome, laconic man of uncertain
     style, takes a last drag from his cigarette, drops and
     stomps it. Passengers disembark from the train. Roy
     searches their faces. They all look like strangers.


29   EXT. AMTRAK TRAIN - SAME TIME                               29

     A conductor helps Sara to the platform. Steam from the
     train's engine is sucked into the fog. She walks through
     it. Sees him. They see each other. Roy weakly waves.
     Walks toward her. Sara watches his bow legs stiffly
     advance. She wants to run. Can't.

                                 ROY
                Hi.

                                 SARA
                Hi.

                              ROY
                Have a good ride?

     Sara self-consciously tucks her hair behind an ear.

                              SARA
                Slept through most of it.

     A beat.   Roy looks at her.

                              ROY
                Guess you got stuff.    Baggage.

                                 SARA
                Two suitcases.     One big one.

                              ROY
                Looks like they're unloading.
                -- You hungry? We can stop
                somewhere if you want.

                              SARA
                I'm kinda tired.

     Roy takes her backpack.     They walk.


30   INT./EXT. ROY'S PICKUP/STREET - SARA AND ROY - NIGHT        30

     A heavy silence. Roy starts to turn on the radio, stops
     himself. He lights a cigarette, cracks the window.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                           10.

30   CONTINUED:                                                  30

                                ROY
                  I didn't like leavin' you so soon
                  after the funeral. I wouldn't
                  have if you hadn't asked me to go.
                  I mean, I could've hung around.
                  Helped you say good-bye. That's
                  what you were doin', wasn't it?

                                  SARA
                  Uh-huh.

     Roy takes another drag, nods thoughtfully to himself.

                                ROY
                  That's what I figured you were
                  doin'.

     Sara peers out    the windshield. Baltimore City. The
     neighborhoods    are changing. The streets are getting
     progressively    gritty and dirty. It surprises her. It
     worries her.     Roy worries her.

                                ROY
                  Look. Sara. I feel bad too. I
                  mean, we both got hit by the same
                  bolt of lightning. You don't have
                  to pretend this is easy.
                         (off nothing)
                  Everything's upside down right now
                  but don't worry. We'll work this
                  bachelor-father thing out. Hell,
                  it ain't like we're movin' in with
                  strangers. We got a pretty good
                  idea about each other, right?

     Sara looks askance at him, her expression indicating
     otherwise. A moment. Roy's too new at this to hold up
     both ends of the conversation. The silence deepens. Roy
     switches on the radio.


31   EXT. BOND STREET (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - NIGHT                  31

     Roy's truck pulls up to a string of disrepaired rowhouses
     with pristine white marble steps. He and Sara each lug a
     suitcase from the truck. Her eyes wander up and down the
     street. They're on the fringes of a ghetto. A few
     people roost on their stoops, hang on the corners. All
     of them have black faces.

                                SARA
                  Thought you were moving to Fells
                  Point.

                                  ROY
                  Fell through.

                                                             11.

32   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT                                  32

     The second floor of a two-story house has been turned
     into a one-bedroom studio. A partition separates the
     living area from the bedroom. Sara walks past a
     collection of saxophones and several framed pictures of
     herself. Aside from the saxophones and the pictures,
     there's hardly any furniture. Roy lights a cigarette.

                             ROY
               Not much of what you're used to.
               But the water's hot and the fridge
               is full. And I made room in the
               closets for you. Girl's gotta
               have closets, right? You even get
               your own bed. I'll crash on the
               couch.

                             SARA
               You bought a bed?

                             ROY
                      (slight bow)
               Pardon me. Your own futon.     Check
               it out. On the other side.

     Suitcase in hand, Sara walks around the partition. Her
     "room" is an old futon, an ancient set of drawers. She
     stands in the middle of nothing, wanting something to do.
     She removes framed photos of Glynn from her backpack,
     places them around the room.


33   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING AREA - MINUTES LATER            33

     Sara walks in.   Doesn't see Roy.   Calls out.

                             SARA
               Do you have a phone?

     Roy emerges from the bathroom drying his hands, walks
     past her.

                             ROY
               Of course I have a phone.

                             SARA
               You didn't at the last place.    The
               last place I saw anyway.

                             ROY
               Things change. You've changed.
               You grew up on me. Overnight.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                              12.

33   CONTINUED:                                                     33

                                SARA
                  Over the summer. You blew me off
                  for some gig on the road,
                  remember?
                         (before he can
                          respond)
                  Can I call Lindsay? Let her know
                  I got here alright.

                            ROY
              Are you alright, Sara?
                     (off the scowl
                      in her eyes)
              I just wanna know how you feel.

                               SARA
              I feel fine.     I feel like calling
              Lindsay.

     She's a wall. A brick wall. Roy's head aches from
     knocking into it. He goes to the couch. Drops down.
     Mutters at her.

                                ROY
                  Phone's in the kitchen.   Knock
                  yourself out.


34   INT. SARA'S ROOM/BATHROOM - LATE THAT NIGHT                    34

     Sara lying in bed... wide awake... her stiff upper lip
     quivering. She slips out of bed, creeps on tiptoes into
     the bathroom. Closes the door oh-so-quietly behind her.
     She flips on the light, crosses to the sink, turns on
     both faucets. As the water flows and the PIPES RATTLE,
     the brick wall shatters. Sara crumbles to the floor.
     Buries her head in her arms. Cries like a baby.


35   INT./EXT. ROY'S PICKUP (SOUTH BALTIMORE) -                     35
     NEXT MORNING

     Roy and Sara. Barreling through the south end, tongues
     stuck in gear. A Pop-Tart grows cold on Sara's lap.
     Then, finally.

                                SARA
                  I can take the school bus.
                  Tomorrow.

                               ROY
                  School bus? That's the other Oz,
                  Dorothy. Patterson kids ride the
                  city Metro. Or walk.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                             13.

35   CONTINUED:                                                     35

                                SARA
                  Well, I know how to do both.

                                ROY
                  Not around here you don't. Not
                  until you get the hang of things.

     Sara looks out the window at a full-fledged ghetto. It's
     all to obvious, the hang of things. Roy glances over at
     her.

                                ROY
                  I called about your transcripts.
                  You're all set. Patterson's got a
                  pretty good Humanities program.
                  No ballet, but we can find a
                  studio someplace close for after
                  school --

                             SARA
               -- I don't think I'll have time.
               I have to study, I'll be busy.

     Roy can hear the lie behind her words.      The pain too. He
     lights a cigarette, cracks the window.      He wants to say
     the right thing.

                             ROY
               Good idea. Take a break. Not too
               long a break though. You're a
               dancer. You should dance. Stay
               on top of your art.

                             SARA
               Like you stay on top of yours?

                             ROY
               Maybe I ain't playin' no grand
               ballrooms or fancy jazz festivals,
               but I'm playing.

                             SARA
                      (unconvincingly)
               I didn't mean it like that.

                                ROY
                  S'alright. Hell, I wish I had
                  half the time I wasted gettin'
                  wasted. But those days are over.
                  You'll see. I got my life on
                  track.

                                                            14.

36   EXT. PATTERSON HIGH SCHOOL (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - MORNING       36

     Formidably large and surprisingly well-kept, Patterson
     serves the nearby, predominantly black O'Donnell Heights
     Projects. Kids malinger outside on the front steps and
     lawn.


37   FROM ANOTHER ANGLE - PARKING LOT                             37

     Roy's pickup pulls in. Roy CUTS the ENGINE. Sara looks
     at him. Or through him. She won't let his eyes connect.

                             SARA
               You don't have to go in with me.
               Since I'm all set. I mean, I have
               done this before. Gone to school.
               I'll be fine. I am fine. Really.

     Roy regards her with weary resignation.   Sara climbs out.
     He calls after her.

                             ROY
               -- Pick you up. Three-thirty.

                              SARA
                       (over a shoulder)
               Yeah.   Sure. Whatever.


38   EXT./INT. PATTERSON HIGH - MORNING                           38

     Sara moving TOWARD us PAST a floating mosaic of black
     faces. This is a near out-of-body experience for her.
     She walks like a well-rehearsed soldier in a stiff
     straight line to the school's entrance. It's clogged
     with students. Inside the doorway, two security guards
     flank a metal detector. When it's Sara's turn to pass
     through, one of the guards grabs her backpack and
     wordlessly begins searching it. He hands it back to her
     on the other side of the detector where Sara stands
     obtusely and mutely amazed.


39   INT. ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - MORNING                       39

     THROUGH a window, Sara seated across from an
     ADMINISTRATOR. We PUSH IN.

                             ADMINISTRATOR
               ... It's no fun being uprooted in
               the middle of your senior year.
               We realize that and we'll do what
               we can to help with the
               transition.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                                 15.

39   CONTINUED:                                                        39

     There's a KNOCK at door. MRS. GWYNN, the Guidance
     Counselor, steps in. The Administrator introduces her to
     Sara. Sara regards Mrs. Gwynn with polite petulance.

                                   MRS. GWYNN
                  Any questions?     Concerns?

                                   SARA
                  About school?     No.   Not really.

                                MRS. GWYNN
                  Not even about Baltimore?

                                SARA
                  I'm not gonna be here that long.
                  Besides, it's just a city, right?

     Mrs. Gwynn looks at her squarely. But the brick wall
     doesn't move an inch. Sara feels too safe behind it.


40   INT. HALLWAY - MORNING                                            40

     Clutching new textbooks, Sara starts down the hallway.
     She's hoping nothing in her face reveals the rising panic
     in her heart. She's surrounded. Alone. Every inch of
     her feels afraid.


     SARA'S POV

     as she MOVES FORWARD. A crush of KIDS -- mostly black
     with a sprinkling of white and Latino faces thrown in.
     Kids like her. Only they don't dress like her. They
     dress like commercials for Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin
     Klein. And they definitely don't sound like her...

                                TEENAGER #1
                  Yo, man, check it, the
                  muthafuckers wasn't playin', they
                  was jackin'. Ten rides in five
                  days. For real.

                                TEENAGER #2
                  Fools got caught for real too.
                  Ten years in five days. Stall
                  that shit!

     Sara walks on, taking this netherworld in, eavesdropping
     on other conversations. It's not just the words. It's
     how they say them: Loud. Matter-of-fact. Cool. A
     cooler cool. Like they breathe static electricity.

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                               16.

40   CONTINUED:                                                      40

     That's it! The entire student body is energized. Sara's
     thoughts are jolted by two black girls squeezing by. One
     clips Sara's elbow as she passes, knocking it against a
     locker. They keep going as if they don't see her. No
     one seems to see her. Welcome to mass avoidance at
     Patterson High.


41   AT SARA'S LOCKER       - LATER                                  41

     Sara's back is to a black girl striding purposefully
     toward her. CHENILLE -- tall, pretty, with about a
     million braids in her hair -- swoops Sara's backpack from
     the floor. Thrusts it at her.

                                CHENILLE
                  That's how easy it is to give to
                  charity around here. Don't put
                  your shit on the floor.

                                   SARA
                            (cautions a smile)
                  Thanks.

     She closes her locker, starts to say something else.
     She's eager to make a friend. One friend. But
     Chenille's gone.


42   ANOTHER CORRIDOR                                                42

     Sara memorizes the schedule of classes in her hand. She
     passes a clutch of students who surround a kid in the
     middle like a horseshoe. Sara gets a fleeting glimpse of
     him.


     SARA'S POV - PATRICK REYNOLDS

     Eye candy: Tall. Dark. Heartbreakingly handsome. If
     Patterson were a monarchy, Patrick would be king. He
     sure holds court like one, turning on his dazzling smile
     and abundant charm for the crowd. One gets the sense
     that the All-American Home Boy is almost as enraptured
     with himself as the sycophants around him.


43   INT. JURASINSKI'S CLASSROOM - MORNING                           43

     The room's seen better days. Probably better teachers
     too. MR. JURASINSKI looks out at his American Literature
     class and sees nothing but tenure.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                                17.

43   CONTINUED:                                                       43

                                   JURASINSKI
                  In Cold Blood    represents a turning
                  point in our    country's literature.
                  Take the cap    off and tell me why
                  that is, Mr.    Ricard.

     WIDER to include the class. FAVOR "SNOOKIE" RICARD. We
     recognize him from the hallway kids wrapped up in
     Patrick. Snookie, a flagrant Patrick wannabe, sits next
     to him now. He removes his baseball cap. Thoughtfully
     twirls it on a finger. He truly believes he's being
     profound.

                                 SNOOKIE
                  Gay rights. That Compote dude who
                  wrote it? Sweet tooth. Straight-
                  up fag, Mr. J.

                                JURASINSKI
                  Thank you, Mr. Ricard. Your
                  genius grant is in the mail.
                  Anyone else?

     No volunteers. Jurasinski looks for someone to put on
     the spot. Sees the new girl in a back corner. Johnson.
     He gets into her line of sight. The class shifts in
     their seats, peeping her.

                                JURASINSKI
                  Ms... Johnson. You can catch up
                  later. If this is over your head.

     Everyone looks at her.        The way kids look at new kids.

                                SARA
                  It's a non-fiction novel. The
                  first of its kind. Capote mixed
                  true events with things he
                  couldn't know, so he made them up.

     A small murmur goes up.        Over this, the voice of a
     dissenter.

                                PATRICK (O.S.)
                  White folks back then felt safe.
                  Capote scared 'em. He took hard
                  core crime out the ghetto and
                  dropped it in America's back yard.
                  That's what makes the book
                  special.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                    18.

43   CONTINUED:                                                           43

     Sara cranes to see him. God. It's pretty-boy. He's
     sitting on the other side of the classroom. Looking...
     pretty. Looking at her. He has nice eyes. Not that she
     noticed.

                                 SARA
                  Yeah.   That is part of it.

                             PATRICK
               That's all of it. Capote wasn't
               first. Richard Wright and James
               Baldwin did the same thing.
               Wasn't nobody tryin' to read them
               though.

                                SARA
                  Lots of people read them.

     A defensive save.      Patrick sees right through it.

                                PATRICK
                  Lots of people like who?      You?
                  Hello. Didn't think so.

                                SNOOKIE
                  Mr. J.! Girl needs to bone up.
                  Give her a pass to the lib'ary.

     The room erupts in laughter.


     ON SARA

     flushed in the face.      Embarrassed.     Pissed.

     ANGLE WIDENS as Jurasinski quiets the class.           Then.

                                JURASINSKI
                  She can have your pass, Mr.
                  Ricard. Since you obviously never
                  use it.


44   INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE OF CAFETERIA - NOON                             44

     Lunchtime. PICK UP Sara among a cattle drive of
     boisterous students.


45   CAFETERIA - FOOD LINE - LATER                                        45

     Hundreds of voices unleashed in pure, unadulterated
     teenage cacophony. Sara's in a queue of kids, working
     her way down the line.

                                                          (CONTINUED)

                                                             19.

45   CONTINUED:                                                    45

     She's as invisible and anonymous as ever. CAMERA TRACKS
     her FROM the line, TO the cashier, INTO the heart of the
     dining hall. She stands with a food tray, looking for a
     place to sit.


     HER POV

     Table cliques of the cafeteria.


     SERIES OF SWEEPING SHOTS


46   JOCK TABLE                                                    46

     Two tables pushed together.    Full.


47   NERD TABLE                                                    47

     Barely, pathetically populated but surprisingly diverse.


48   HIP-HOP TABLE                                                 48

     Loud, overflowing, fun.    King Patrick and his loyal
     subjects horse around.


49   POPULAR TABLE                                                 49

     Over which a glacial beauty we will come to know as NIKKI
     DAVIS presides. Girls only.


50   WHITE TABLE

     Notable for its glaring absence of color.    A girl we will
     come to know as TONI sits there.

     And then PUSHING IN ON --


51   CHENILLE'S TABLE                                              51

     She's there with a group of girls who eschew pretense.
     They, like Chenille, are rugged and regular. They know
     who they are.

     END OF SERIES OF SWEEPING SHOTS.

                                                             20.

52   ANGLE ON SARA                                                 52

     eyeing Chenille's table. Screwing up courage as she
     approaches it. She gets there but two black girls are
     faster. They sit down in the only empty seats. Sara
     backs off, invisible again.


     ON CHENILLE

     glimpsing Sara from the corner of her eye as Sara walks
     away.


53   AT NERDS' TABLE - LATER                                       53

     Time has    passed. The cafeteria is half as full, half as
     noisy.     Sara sits among the NERDS, a friendly if verbose
     group.     She's trying to eat but a snooze button is
     talking    her to death...

                                WONK
                  ... I know you're new to the
                  table, but think about it. We're
                  the Y2K generation and nobody
                  takes us seriously. We don't take
                  ourselves seriously. Just look
                  around. Half the student body is
                  D.O.A. -- and that's from the neck
                  up, Clara.

                                 SARA
                  Sara.   It's Sara.

                                CHENILLE (O.S.)
                  Yeah. It's Sara. And you're
                  boring her from the ears down.

     Sara looks up, surprised to see Chenille standing there.
     She flashes a knowing smile at her, indicates Sara's
     tray.

                                  CHENILLE
                  You finished?

     Sara leaps up with a quick, grateful nod. Beats a hasty
     retreat from the table. As she and Chenille walk through
     the cafeteria, Sara shudders with relief. She feels
     rescued.

                                  SARA
                  God!    Thank you!

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                               21.

53   CONTINUED:                                                      53

                                CHENILLE
                         (laughs)
                  Gotta watch where you sit, girl.
                  And it's Chenille. But you're
                  still welcome. Let's catch some
                  air before the bell rings.


54   EXT. QUAD - MOMENTS LATER                                       54

     Sara follows Chenille into the "QUAD," four squared off
     sections outside the cafeteria. There are a few dry-
     rotted picnic tables scattered around. Other kids -- and
     they run the gamut -- are seen in clots, sneaking
     smokes... horsing around... making out.


     SARA'S POV - KIDS OF QUAD

     And OVER the sound of HIP-HOP MUSIC, a pair of feet.
     Moving. Dancing. CAMERA PANS UP to reveal Nikki. She's
     demonstrating some moves to the girls from the popular
     table. Nikki's dancing her ass off, showing off.


     BACK TO SCENE

                                SARA
                  What's it called? What she's
                  doing?

                                CHENILLE
                  A dance.

                                SARA
                         (a look; knows that)
                  No, I mean... the step, the...

     She trails off as she catches someone in the corner of
     her eye. She turns away from Chenille, gradually
     focusing on --


     PATRICK

     playing cards with Snookie at one of the picnic tables.
     He glances up to see Sara. Glowering at him. He grins.

     Sara rolls her eyes, turns away.      Mutters loudly to
     herself.

                                SARA
                  Asshole.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                             22.

54   CONTINUED:                                                    54

                            CHENILLE
              Asshole beaucoup. In this crowd,
              you gotta be more specific.

                            SARA
                     (covertly indicates
                      Patrick)
              He's in one of my classes. Thinks
              he's so... smart. So cute.

                             CHENILLE
               I don't know about cute but he is
               smart. Real smart. Real trip,
               too.

                             SARA
               So you know him?

                             CHENILLE
               Patrick Reynolds? Hell yeah, I
               know him. He's my brother.

     Chenille waits for Sara to swallow her tongue.     Enjoys a
     laugh.


     ANGLE SHIFTS TO PATRICK

     as Nikki approaches him. Sexy, standoffish and
     conceited, she's the stuff of wet dreams and futile
     longing. She sits down next to Patrick. Close to him.
     Snookie watches her, much amused.

                             NIKKI
               You comin' tonight?

     Patrick keeps playing his hand.     Responds very coolly.

                               PATRICK
               Gotta work.

                             NIKKI
               You already skipped three
               meetings.
                      (as he's ignoring
                       her)
               Is it because of me? Everybody on
               the committee thinks it's because
               of me. Us.
                      (infuriated by his
                       silence)
               Look, Patrick. Regardless.
                             (MORE)

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                              23.

54   CONTINUED:                                                     54

                                NIKKI (CONT'D)
                  You're in charge of the music.
                  I'm in charge of the prom. So
                  show up. Don't make me fire your
                  ass.

     Fighting words. Snookie holds his breath. Patrick
     throws out a card, turns slowly to Nikki with a withering
     stare in his eyes.

                                PATRICK
                  You already fired my ass, Nikki.
                  Once and done. Over. Out. 'Bye.

     She stalks off. Snookie oogles her departure, peers at
     Patrick, about to say something. Patrick cuts him off,
     indicates cards.

                               PATRICK
                 Hit me and shut the hell up.

                               SNOOKIE
                 I'ma shut up... after I say it
                 been real frigid 'round here since
                 y'all broke up. 'Specially since
                 she broke up with you. That was
                 harsh, way she canceled your ass
                 like a stamp for that Howard U
                 dude. But their shit's over. Now
                 might be the time to forget
                 mistakes that was made. Shoot.
                 You been with the girl since ninth
                 grade.

                                PATRICK
                  Why you sweatin' me, Snookie?

                                SNOOKIE
                         (pounding his heart)
                  'Cause I'm about you, man. I want
                  a happy ending. Aww, shit. Tuck
                  an' duck. Here he comes. The
                  hood of the 'hood, up to no good.


     THEIR POV

     MALAKAI RHINEHART, 17, heading toward them. Powerfully
     built and edgy with insolence, Malakai is like a tightly-
     wound coil -- you never know when he's going to snap.
     ANGLE WIDENS and we see Patrick is happy to see him. He
     and Malakai grin at each other. Knock handshakes.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                                24.

54   CONTINUED:                                                       54

                                MALAKAI
                  Medicine man...

                                SNOOKIE
                         (interjecting himself)
                  Did I tell you, Malakai, man, how
                  chill it is to have you back?
                  We ain't been bad without cha.

                                MALAKAI
                  Shut the fuck up and step your
                  lame ass off, Snookie. You heard
                  me. Space.

     Snookie haughtily, comedically obliges.        A moment.

                                PATRICK
                  What happened to you at lunch,
                  man?

                                MALAKAI
                  Business.

     Short-hand. Patrick understands it, nods. Malakai slips
     the cigarette from behind his ear, openly lights and
     starts smoking it. CAMERA TRACKS them walking back
     toward Patterson.

                                PATRICK
                  So you're hangin' in, man?
                  Feelin' strong about being back?

                                MALAKAI
                  Not at this motherfucker. Out a
                  week and where am I? Fucking home
                  sweet high school. Jail away from
                  jail. You can have it.

                                PATRICK
                  You gonna stay though.   Right?

                                MALAKAI
                  Judge says it's school or JuVee
                  and I sure as hell ain't goin'
                  back there. Shit. I never knew a
                  year could be such a long time.

     A flash of commiseration, of guilt, crosses Patrick's
     face. They're at the doors now. Most of the kids have
     gone. Malakai puts his cigarette out on the floor as
     they step in.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                             25.

54   CONTINUED:                                                    54

                                PATRICK
                  You up for some hoops after
                  school? Break your free-throw
                  back in. Chump the chumps like we
                  used to.

                               MALAKAI
                  Up for it? Hell-the-fuck yeah,
                  man. Let's do it.


55   EXT. PATTERSON HIGH - THAT DAY (AFTER SCHOOL)                 55

     Sara exits with Chenille. A CAR HORN starts to blare.
     Both of them ignore it. But it goes on like a musical
     number. Sara gets a sinking feeling that drops like a
     stone when she looks across the street. Roy's parked at
     the curb, waiting for her. She rolls her eyes and he
     HONKS AGAIN. Then he waves at her. Waves! Chenille
     looks at Sara. Then at Roy.

                                CHENILLE
                  That's your old man? Now he's
                  cute.

                                SARA
                  He's embarrassing.

                                 CHENILLE
                          (laughs)
                  Yeah.   He is. For you.


56   INT./EXT. ROY'S TRUCK - CONTINUOUS ACTION                     56

     Sara climbs in, slams the door. Roy looks over at her,
     unaware of how annoyed she is with him. She's a clenched
     fist inside.

                                 ROY
                  How'd it go?

                                 SARA
                  Fine.
                      (as he pulls off)
               Tomorrow I catch the bus.


57   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - SARA'S "ROOM" - NIGHT                  57

     Sara's moving the partition around, trying to make her
     room more like a room. Trying to build another wall
     between her and Roy.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                               26.

57   CONTINUED:                                                       57

                                 ROY (O.S.)
                  Hey, Sara.   C'mere a minute.

     Sara lets out a heavy sigh.        What does he want?

                                 SARA
                  What?

                             ROY (O.S.)
               Just come here.

     She walks into the kitchen. Roy's in front of the open
     freezer door. Grinning from ear to ear. He motions her
     over. Sara crosses to the freezer. Looks inside.


     INSERT - INSIDE FREEZER

     It's full of frozen dinners.       They're in unruly, lopsided
     stacks.


     BACK TO SCENE

     Roy regards her expectantly.

                                ROY
                  Hungry and Healthys. I asked at
                  the market. They're the best.
                  So. What do you feel like?
                         (whimsically)
                  Lamb Chop Suey? Tropical Tuna?
                  Primavera Paradise?

                                SARA
                  I had a big lunch.

     Roy, deflated, closes the freezer door, trails her into
     the living area. Sara's clenching again. There's no
     escaping him.

                                ROY
                  What do you wanna do? You wanna
                  hang out with me? Go to my gig.
                  You can if you want.

                                SARA
                  It's a school night, Roy.

                                 ROY
                  Right.   School night.    Got it.

                                                            27.

58   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - SARA - LATER            58

     Roy's gone. Sara takes her first good look around. A
     mess. It drives home where she is. What she's lost.
     It's overwhelming.


59   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - CLOSE ON EMPTY T.V.         59
     DINNER TRAY - NIGHT

     An empty beer bottle, one askew kitchen chair. Vestiges
     of Roy's meal. ANGLE WIDENS as Sara enters. She opens
     the freezer to unearth a dinner and starts an avalanche
     of falling food. A box of Sugar Puffs cereal lands at
     her feet. Something else out of place. She picks it up,
     jams everything back into the freezer. Slams the door
     shut.

                                                SHOCK CUT TO:


60   SARA                                                         60

     in a whirlwind, cleaning the apartment. Wall to wall.
     Scrubbing away what's churned up inside. The dervish
     ends in her "room," where she finishes unpacking.
     Several layers into a suitcase, she comes to her ballet
     shoes. The sight hits her like a slap in the face. Sara
     stares at the shoes until her eyes blur. Then she
     snatches them up and entombs them deep inside her closet.


61   EXT. O'DONNELL HEIGHTS PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS -             61
     MORNING

     Patrick, Chenille, Snookie straggle through the dreary
     jungle of concrete lawns and blighted high rises on the
     way to school. It's quiet now but the scars of past
     battles, like the bombed out police substation on one of
     its corners, are evident everywhere.

                             SNOOKIE
               I need a date --

                              CHENILLE
               Why?   Your hand busy?

                             SNOOKIE
               -- For the prom. And if it wasn't
               for that kinda undue attitude, you
               could be the lucky girl, Chenille.
               My personal prom queen. I can see
               us now.

                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                              28.

61   CONTINUED:                                                     61

                                CHENILLE
                  You must be lookin' in your
                  dreams.

     Snookie glances at Patrick.       He's somewhere else.

                                  SNOOKIE
                  Help me, man.    Defend me.

                                PATRICK
                  I got my own problems, Snook.

                             SNOOKIE
               What problems? You goin' to
               college. Doctor college after
               that. You large, man.

                             PATRICK
               I ain't gonna be doctor nothin' if
               I don't get in and I'm not in 'til
               I get my letter.

                             CHENILLE
               It's in the mail, Patrick.       Okay?

                             SNOOKIE
                      (wishfully thinking)
               I probably coulda been a doctor
               too. If I hadn't got left back
               that time.

                             CHENILLE
               That time? What? Fifth and sixth
               grade don't count?

     Patrick finally laughs. Then his face changes. Becomes
     serious. He hops a low wall, keeps in stride above them.
     They continue on like this, the ruins of their world in
     the b.g. behind them.


62   INT./EXT CITY BUS/BALTIMORE STREETS - MORNING                  62

     The bus is crammed with kids. Sara, seated by a window,
     doesn't bother looking out. Inside's more interesting.
     The kids cut up. Singing, rapping, and jousting with
     each other. Some even manage to read. Sara watches with
     immunity. She's invisible to them.


63   EXT. BUS STOP (NEAR PATTERSON HIGH) - MORNING                  63

     Sara alights just as Patrick, Chenille, and Snookie walk
     past. Patrick's the only one to see her and their eyes
     briefly connect.

                                                            29.

64   INT. HALLWAY NEAR ENTRANCE (PATTERSON HIGH) -                 64
     CONTINUOUS ACTION

     Patrick and Chenille pass through metal detectors, watch
     Snookie clown his way through. The security guard shakes
     his head. All three begin to walk. Snookie, bobbing and
     jiving, doesn't see Mrs. Gwynn coming up from behind.
     Her voice stops him cold.

                             MRS. GWYNN
                      (as Patrick and
                       Chenille look on)
               Light on your feet? Good. Be
               sure they dance into my office
               next week.

     She moseys on.   Snookie regards Patrick's smile, shakes
     his head.


65   INT. CHEMISTRY LAB - LATER THAT MORNING                       65

     The class has donned lab coats and is ready   to begin when
     Sarah rushes in. She tries to slink into a    seat. The
     teacher, MR. HILL, gives her a disapproving   look, points
     at one of several formulas (C2,H6,O2) on the   blackboard.
     Sara just looks at him

                             MR. HILL
               We're cooking today, Ms. Johnson.
               This is your first lab. You'll
               need a partner. Mr. Reynolds --
               Patrick -- will show you the
               ropes.

     Patrick bounces a smile off unsettled Sara.     This should
     be fun.


66   INT. CHEMISTRY LAB - MINUTES LATER                            66

     The class, in safety goggles and gloves, has partnered
     up.


     ANGLE ON SARA AND PATRICK

     He's holding two vials. Sara picks up a beaker. Stares
     at the blackboard. She has no idea -- and no intention
     of admitting it.

                             PATRICK
                      (very casually)
               That's too big.

     She glints at him, grits through her teeth.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                                30.

66   CONTINUED:                                                       66

                                SARA
                  I know it's too big.

     She puts the beaker down. Picks up a vial. Flips
     through her textbook. Her eyes shift from it to the
     blackboard, trying to make a connection. She settles on
     one. Picks up a vial of powder. Patrick grabs her hand,
     leans over and whispers.

                            PATRICK
              I wouldn't do that if I were you.

                            SARA
                     (yanks her hand back)
              Who died and made you teacher?

     Patrick pulls back, looks at her. He can't believe she
     dissed him. A small smile forms on his face. Sara turns
     away from it, goes back to her vials. Patrick slides to
     the farthest end of the table. Watches her consternation
     with bemusement.

                            PATRICK
              Know the difference between ethyl
              glycol and methyl acetate? Both
              got three elements, two parts the
              same. It's that first part, C2
              versus C3. C3 could blow a vial
              right out a person's hand.

     Sara thinks he's messing with her. But then the contents
     of the beaker begin to ominously bubble. Panicked, she
     drops the vial into their sink. It instantly goes up in
     smoke. Some of the liquid splashes on Sara's lab coat.
     Patrick grabs a wet towel, quickly wipes it off. The
     class stops cold. Hill rushes up to them. Once he's
     sure Sara's fine, he looks sternly at Patrick.

                                MR. HILL
              What happened?      Everybody back in
              your seats!

     Patrick stares at Sara.     Her face is red.     She's biting
     her lip.

                                PATRICK
                  I misread the component.

                                MR. HILL
                         (even more angry now)
                  You? You misread a component.
                  Don't give me that, Patrick. You
                  were screwin' around!

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                31.

66   CONTINUED:                                                       66

     Hill's tone is searing. He turns to     Sara. She's trying
     to say something but the words won't    come out. Hill
     regards her wearily, then walks off    pushing the curious
     class back to their stations. Sara     looks at Patrick,
     weakly mouths "thanks."


67   INT. GYMNASIUM - NIGHT                                           67

     Over the sound of GRUNTING... OPEN CLOSE ON a girl's
     plump ass. Squirming in too-tight gym shorts that hug
     the cheeks. ANGLE WIDENS to reveal a stout white girl on
     a balance beam. Trying to get her legs to stand up on
     it. Hanging on for dear life. From somewhere around
     her, a WHISTLE BLOWS.

                                TEACHER (O.S.)
                  Alright, Ms. Diggs. Time!

     WIDEN to see the teacher and her class (FAVOR Sara,
     Chenille, and Nikki). Amid snickers, the stout girl
     ("DIGGY") slides off the beam, walks past the teacher
     with her head demurely cast down. Clearing the teacher,
     Diggy pivots around, both middle fingers in the air.
     Gives up the double bird with much attitude. The class
     loves it. Cheers it. Until the teacher swerves around.


67   SERIES OF CLOSE CUTS                                             67

     Chenille on balance beam.    competent but average.

     Nikki on balance beam.    Agile.   Self-assured.   Good.

     ... And then TIGHTER STILL on Sara. Tentatively
     approaching the balance beam. Mindful of all the eyes on
     her, all the bated breaths. All waiting to see the new
     girl fall on her ass. Sara swings herself onto the beam
     with aplomb. Her legs and body are strong, supple,
     pliable rubber bands. She flounces across it on her
     tiptoes. Does a flawless split. Hops off. Looks out.


     SARA'S POV - TEACHER AND CLASS

     Reacting with shock and surprise. Awed. Except for
     Nikki. She stands there with her arms folded.
     Simmering. Envious.


68   PATTERSON HIGH - END OF SCHOOL THAT DAY                          68

     Sara. Heading down the steps with other students.
     Chenille and Diggy break through the logjam, catch up to
     her.
                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                                 32.

68   CONTINUED:                                                        68

                                CHENILLE
                  Girl, how you get your legs to
                  twist like that?

                                DIGGY
                         (wildly gesticulating)
                  Yeah. What was all that double-
                  jointed cheerleader shit?

                                   CHENILLE
                  This is Diggy.     Thinks she's down.

                                   DIGGY
                  Egg-cuse me?     I am down.

                                 CHENILLE
                  So, Sara.   What's up with that?

                                SARA
                         (awkwardly)
                  Nothing's up with it. I used to
                  kind of dance. Ballet. Mostly.

     Chenille makes an impressed face.          Regards Sara
     curiously.

                                CHENILLE
                  You should hit Feetz with us
                  tomorrow night. It's a club.
                  Sorta members only.

                                   DIGGY
                  Un-der-ground.

                            SARA
              I don't know...

                            CHENILLE
              Come on and hang out. Snook dee's
              sometime. He can get you in.
                     (yelling)
              Yo, Snook

     Sara sees Snookie... then Patrick... loping her way. She
     steels herself. He's going to say something, crack some
     joke about her nearly blowing him up. But Patrick just
     stares at her with a twinkle in his eyes. A nice
     twinkle. Sara's not entirely immune to it. Chenille
     breaks their eye play, pushes Patrick aside. She grabs
     Snookie's arm, indicates Sara.

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                               33.

68   CONTINUED:                                                      68

                                CHENILLE
                  She needs to get hooked up for
                  Feetz. All the way up. Sara,
                  give Snook twenty dollars.

                                SARA
                  For what?

                                SNOOKIE
                  I.D. Eye-dee. How you think you
                  gettin' in? On your looks?
                         (rolling his eyes)
                  Chenille, your girl is weak.
                  Shit. I got my rep to watch. I
                  can't just be gettin' any green
                  in.

     Sara glares.     Regards Snookie with a sweeping scowl.

                                SARA
                  Look closer. And if I still look
                  green, I think maybe you should
                  wipe the crust from your eyes.

     Snookie's jaw drops. Patrick cracks up. Diggy too.
     Chenille's stays on point. She's about solving the
     problem.

                                CHENILLE
                  You gonna pay the man or what?

                                SNOOKIE
                  She ain't got it. Look at her.
                  Loud-talkin' me and broke as a
                  damn promise.

     Sara, put on the spot, pulls out the money.     Snookie
     snatches it.

                                SARA
                  I don't even know where it is.

                                CHENILLE
                  So we'll hook up at my house. Go
                  together. I will have your I.D.

     Snookie shrugs affirmatively. Patrick looks directly at
     Sara. The twinkle in his eye is gone, replaced by fair
     warning.

                            PATRICK
              Feetz ain't no square dance.

                            SARA
              That's okay. I dance in circles.
              Probably around you.

                                                            34.

69   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT                   69

     Roy walks in to see Sara on the futon in her pajamas
     reading a book. She's got a head full of rollers.

                              ROY
               I'm splittin'.
                      (as she barely looks up)
               Whatcha readin'?

                              SARA
               Chemistry.

                             ROY
               You're takin' chemistry?

                             SARA
               Right now it's taking me.

                             ROY
               Give yourself some time. Well.
               See ya in the mornin'. Maybe I'll
               call between sets.

     Sara really looks up.   Gives him an angelic, sluggish
     shrug.

                             SARA
               I'll be asleep.

     He leaves. As soon as Sara hears the front DOOR CLOSE,
     she jumps up, strips down to bra and panties, races to
     the closet. One hand rips the rollers from her hair, the
     other rips through outfits. She's frantic and unsure
     about choosing the right one.


70   EXT. "BLACK" STREET (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - NIGHT                70

     Sara. In a skin-tight miniskirt and a bolero jacket.
     Looking more eighties than nineties, more cute than cool.
     She walks with tentative, jittery purpose down this
     poverty stricken street. Doesn't meet anyone's eye. But
     can feel the eyes on her. She keeps going. She's walked
     too far to turn back.


71   EXT. O'DONNELL HEIGHTS PROJECTS - SARA - NIGHT               71

     Approaching the malignant edifices as the Heights begin
     to come to life... or death, depending how luck's
     running. Sara walks into this world of shadows and
     despite a trepidation, finds something fascinating about
     the possibility of real danger.

                                                           35.

72   EXT./INT. REYNOLDS APARTMENT/HALLWAY - NIGHT                72

     Chenille triple unlocks the door, lets Sara in. Sara's
     surprised -- the apartment is surprisingly quaint and
     extremely neat. It looks a helluva lot better than Roy's
     place. Chenille is dressed in hugely baggy military-
     style pants and a tube top with a form-fitting, short-cut
     leather coat over it. Sara takes it in.

                              SARA
               Cool outfit.

                              CHENILLE
               Slammin'.   Slammin' outfit.

                             SARA
               ... I look okay?

     Chenille gives her the once over.   Decides to lie.

                             CHENILLE
               Yeah.  You look okay.
                      (then)
               Moma Dean. I'm leavin'.


     FROM ANOTHER ANGLE

     GRANDMOMMA DEAN enters with a toddler ("CHRISTOPHER") in
     her arms. She sports snow white, waist-length dreads and
     she's wearing a dashiki lounger. Despite her white
     locks, she doesn't look old enough to be a grandmother.
     She hands Christopher to Chenille. Inspects Sara. Her
     eyes are open, kind.

                             CHENILLE
                      (fussing over
                       Christopher)
               Grandmom, Sara. Sara, Grandmom.
               Also known as Momma Dean. And
               handsome here is Christopher.

                              SARA
               Hi.

                             MOMMA DEAN
               Hello. Now don't get him all
               riled up, Chenille. I want to get
               some sleep tonight.

     Chenille kisses Christopher, hands him off to Momma Dean.
     They exit. Sara looks tentatively at Chenille.

                             SARA
               Is that... is he... yours?

                             CHENILLE
               He sure ain't Momma Dean's.

                                                           36.

73   INT./EXT. CAB/STREET (MOVING) - SARA AND CHENILLE           73
     - NIGHT

     They've been talking.   Well, Chenille has. Sara's been
     listening. Intently.    Liking this confidence they're
     sharing.

                             CHENILLE
               ... He'll be one in July. Best
               mistake I ever made. Kenny --
               Christopher's father -- he's the
               worst. Triflin'. Okay?


74   EXT. 6TH AND BROADWAY (EAST BALTIMORE) - NIGHT              74

     A curbed cab. Sara and Chenille get out. Chenille digs
     into her pocketbook, hands Sara her I.D. PUSH IN ON
     photo of obese white girl with an untamed trailer trash
     perm. Sara's eyes go wide.

                              SARA
               Chenille.   She's ugly.   She's fat!

                            CHENILLE
              She's twenty-one too. I ain't got
              all night. Let's hop.

                            SARA
              Wait. I have to ask you
              something.
                     (hard for her)
              Do I really look alright?

     An unspoken thing passes between them. Chenille suddenly
     whips off her coat. Gestures at Sara with her head.

                             CHENILLE
               Gimme that '89 Madonna shit.    Your
               jacket. Give it here.

     Sara takes off the bolero. Chenille ties it around her
     own neck, then yanks Sara's miniskirt down around her
     hips. Sara's torso is clad in a long-sleeved cotton tee.
     Chenille frowns at it.

                             SARA
               It's from the GAP.

                             CHENILLE
               It's country. You look country in
               it. Take it off.

                             SARA
               I'm not walking in there in my
               bra.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           37.

74   CONTINUED:                                                  74

     Chenille thrusts her leather coat at her. Sara can't
     believe what she's doing, getting (un)dressed on a public
     street! She pulls off the tee, slips on Chenille's coat.
     Buttons it as far as the buttons go. Looks down. Half
     her chest is exposed.


75   EXT. ALLEY (EAST BALTIMORE) - SARA AND CHENILLE - NIGHT     75

     Gaining on what looks like an abandoned warehouse.
     Chenille snorts at the roped off queue of kids waiting to
     get inside.

                                 CHENILLE
                  Rope dopes.   C'mon.

     She leads Sara to the door of FEETZ. The Sumo-sized MAN
     guarding it knows Chenille, digs her. His grin exposes
     gold-capped teeth.

                               DOORMAN
               Chenille.    Lookin' fine.   As
               always.

                             CHENILLE
               Too fine to stand in line?

     The Man grins, opens the rope, lets them in -- "in" being
     just inside the front door. A BOUNCER there collects the
     $10.00 cover charge. Checks their I.D. He hands Sara's
     back with a smirk.

                             BOUNCER
               Changed your hair.

     He waves a metal detector over their bodies, nods to yet
     another bouncer who escorts Sara and Chenille through yet
     another door.


76   ANOTHER ANGLE                                               76

     They march a short distance to an old elevator where a
     group of kids wait. Bouncer #2 engages the elevator.
     Everyone piles in.


77   INT. ELEVATOR - CONTINUOUS ACTION                           77

     Sara holds onto her stomach as the CREAKY ELEVATOR
     descends and the MUSIC below rises. The elevator's
     vibrating with music.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                              38.

77   CONTINUED:                                                     77

                                SARA
                         (an inside to Chenille)
                  Can't get much more underground
                  than this.


78   INT. FEETZ CLUB - CONTINUOUS ACTION                            78

     A smoky hole in the wall, filled to the brim with kids.
     Mostly black kids with a few whites and Latinos melting
     in. They share a common goal: To clog the dance floor,
     flaunt their outfits and get nasty with the music of the
     masters: Tupac Shakur, NAS, Lauryn Hill, Puff Daddy,
     etc. Here, the boundaries of dirty dancing are pushed,
     from erotic to vulgar; loving to lascivious.


     ANOTHER ANGLE

     Sara and Chenille. Sara's excited. She loves that she
     has to shout to be head over the music.

                                CHENILLE
                  Let's get our table 'fore it gets
                  crashed and I hafta hurt somebody.

     Sara's bewildered. She doesn't see any tables. She
     follows Chenille to the back of FEETZ. Sees six or seven
     tables. All of them have reserved signs. Most of them
     are filled.

                                SARA
                  What are you, some kind of V.I.P.?

     Chenille indicates the deejay booth.     Snookie's in it.

                             CHENILLE
               Snook hooks me up whenever he
               dees.

     They walk past a SLACKER in lycra pants and a big Army
     shirt. He licks his tongue at Chenille, grabs at her
     protruding butt. She swirls around, grabs his crotch
     hard enough to get his attention. The Slacker is
     squirming in her clutch.

                             SLACKER
               Aw'right, aw'right. You got it.

                               CHENILLE
               Got what?
                               (MORE)

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                                39.

78   CONTINUED:                                                       78

                                CHENILLE (CONT'D)
                         (as he can't think of
                          anything but the
                          squeeze on his balls)
                  The right to walk past your
                  greasy, tickle dick self without
                  your paws on my ass? 'S'that how
                  I got it?

     Chenille bobs her head right in his face. Sara can't
     believe it. A few people have stopped and are looking.
     The Slacker nods hastily. Chenille releases him, gently
     smoothes out his shirt.

                                 CHENILLE
                  That's how I thought I had it.
                          (a fly wave)
                  See ya.

     She and Sara continue on to back-of-the-club tables.
     Stop at a reserved one. An adjacent table sports Nikki,
     her three girl crew... and Diggy. All nurse drinks.
     Nikki snake-eyes Sara.

                            NIKKI
              What is up with this place? Seems
              like they're lettin' anybody in.

                                 CHENILLE
                  Yeah.   And they started with you.

     The three girls and Diggy snicker. Nikki gives Chenille
     a look. Turns back to Sara with a snide smirk. Points
     out her crew.

                               NIKKI
                  I'm Nikki. Alyssa. Jasmin.
                  Tiff'nee. You know Diggy, right,
                  Marsha?

                                SARA
                  Sara. It's Sara. And I know you.
                  We have a class together.

                                NIKKI
                  That don't mean you know me.

                                CHENILLE
                  Quit it, Nikki.

                                NIKKI
                  Quit what? I ain't walkin' on
                  eggshells just 'cause you brought
                  the Brady Bunch to the Negro Club.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                               40.

78   CONTINUED:                                                       78

                                SARA
                         (kiss-my-ass polite)
                  Maybe you came to the wrong spot,
                  Nikki. I'm pretty sure this one
                  doesn't have any Negroes.

     Chenille cracks up mainly to back Sara up.       Nikki glowers
     at her.

                                NIKKI
                  I'm pretty sure you came with one.

                                CHENILLE
                  Oh, no. Uh-uh, wench. You did
                  not just call me a Negro.

     As Chenille bucks, Diggy springs up from her seat, runs
     her arm in the space between Chenille and Nikki like a
     referee.

                             DIGGY
               Alright, y'all. Chill.

                                NIKKI
                  Tell her to chill. She always got
                  somethin' to say.

                            CHENILLE
              I can say a lot more. Keep
              runnin' your mouth, Nikki. I'll
              lay all your shit bare.

     Whatever shit it is, Nikki's not taking any       chances. She
     ejects herself from the table, walks off.        The three
     girls scoot loyally after her. Diggy gets        up. Sits down
     at Sara's and Chenille's table. Diggy goes        with the
     flow. That's why she always fits in.

                                DIGGY
                  Why you burn her like that?

                                CHENILLE
                  'Cause I can't stand her ass and
                  the way she played my brother. I
                  need a drink, Sara. Let's walk.


79   INT. FEETZ - ENTRANCE - SAME TIME                                79

     Patrick and Malakai enter with two high school dropouts
     we will learn are ARVEL and LIP. Females flock to flirt
     with Patrick and Malakai, who both swell like sponges,
     soaking up the attention.

                                                                   41.

80   INT. FEETZ - BAR - SAME TIME                                        80

     Chenille pushes her way to the bar, tugging Sara along.
     A tall, angular twenty-something MAN on the far side of
     the bar sees her. She sees him. Sucks her teeth, nudges
     Sara.

                                  CHENILLE
              That's him.        Comin' over.   Kenny?
              Don't look.

     So of course Sara does. She makes a silly face at
     Chenille as Kenny sidles up to her. Chenille rolls her
     eyes half-heartedly.

                                  KENNY (MAN)
              What's up?

                            CHENILLE
              Where's my money, Kenny?

                                KENNY
                  I'm a little short this week.
                  Don't jump off. It's comin'.

                                  CHENILLE
                  It's comin'?    No. You lyin'.

                                KENNY
                  Lemme rap to you about the
                  situation on the dance floor.

     She shakes her head firmly but her eyes do tell. She's
     in love with him. Enough to let him whisper in her ear,
     sweet-talk her away from the bar. Before she's swallowed
     up by the crowd, Chenille turns back to Sara, shouts:

                                  CHENILLE
                  Rum and Coke.    No ice.   Hook me
                  up.


     ON PATRICK

     splitting off from Malakai and a girl clinging to him.
     He's walking through when Nikki appears from nowhere,
     grabs his arm.

                                  NIKKI
                  Let's dance.

                                PATRICK
                         (pulling away)
                  Let's not.

                                                         (CONTINUED)

                                                                 42.

80   CONTINUED:                                                        80

                                 NIKKI
                  Oh?   It's gonna be like that.

                                PATRICK
                  How'd you think it was gonna be?
                  That you was gonna drop me and
                  pick me up whenever you felt like
                  it?

                                NIKKI
                  It ain't all that serious,
                  Patrick.

                                PATRICK
                  It ain't anymore, Nikki.     Not to
                  me.

     He walks off. CAMERA TRACKS him going deep inside the
     club. He wants a drink. He's almost at the bar when he
     sees Chenille on the dance floor with Kenny. She shrugs
     a smile, then cocks her head over at the bar. Toward
     Sara. The look is like, help me out. Don't let me leave
     her hangin'. Patrick rolls his eyes as he glances at
     Sara, before he really sees her. She looks fly. Hugely
     fly. He ambles up as she shouts into the bartender's
     ear.

                                SARA
                  Rum and Coke, straight up. And a
                  beer. I don't care. Anything.

                                PATRICK (O.S.)
              Bad choice.      'Anything.'

     The closeness of his voice startles her. She turns into
     his smile. That cocksure, leave'em-weak-in-the-knees
     smile.

                                SARA
                  It's just a beer.

                                PATRICK
                  Then it should be the best beer.
                  You'd know that if you really
                  drank.

     Sara's knees straighten, her spine stiffens.         The
     asshole's back.

                                 SARA
                  Whatever.

                                PATRICK
                  What's that mean? Whatever.

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                            43.

80   CONTINUED:                                                   80

                                SARA
                  Whatever you want it to mean.
                  You're the whiz kid, right? You
                  know everything.

                            PATRICK
                     (chuckles at this, at
                      her)
              Not everything. Like I don't know
              why we're standin' still.
                     (closer with a teasing
                      whisper)
              I'm supposed to be dizzy by now.
              Remember? From all those circles
              you danced around me.

     Sara leans against the bar.    The knees are going again.

                             SARA
               I don't feel like dancing.

                             PATRICK
               But you do know how...?

                             SARA
               Would I be here if I didn't?

                             PATRICK
               ... Let's do it then.    C'mon.

     He coaxes her onto the dance floor. PARLIAMENT'S funk
     classic "Flashlight" is playing. The dance crowd is
     robustly singing the refrain to the song. There's a
     party on the floor. FAVOR Sara and Patrick, facing each
     other. He's moving already. She starts to dance,
     stiffly, tentatively. Patrick smiles at her. Shakes his
     head. He grabs her hands, swings them in time to the
     music.

                             PATRICK
               Now move your hips. Not so fast.
                      (as Sara looks lost)
               Sara! Just like our hands.
                      (singing, in sync with
                       the crowd)
               'Flashlight! Neon light! Stop
               light! Everybody got a little
               light under the sun.'

     The music's beginning to feel good to Sara. Patrick lets
     go of her hands. Starts to dance. Sara watches him
     intensely, her body follows his stiffly. Patrick's a
     good teacher. He leads without leaving her. Whenever
     she misses a complicated move, he smoothly segues into
     another less-complicated one.
                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                             44.

80   CONTINUED:                                                    80

     Sara begins to pick-up on Patrick's rhythm. Her eyes
     never wander from his. And then she starts to feel
     something else. They both do. A rising beat. A
     quickening heart. And not from the dancing. She smiles
     bashfully at him. Patrick suddenly grabs her around the
     waist, pulls her to him in a sexy spoon dance. All Sara
     can do is try to keep up and hang on.


     FROM ANOTHER ANGLE

     Nikki avidly watching Sara and Patrick with Jasmin and
     Tiff'ny.

                                JASMIN
                  She's all up in your nut, Nikki...
                  Oh, that's right. It ain't your
                  nut anymore.

                                NIKKI
                  It is if I want it to be. He is
                  if I want him to be. That bitch
                  ain't got shit on me.

     The girls regard her in conspicuous, dubious silence.
     Nikki maintains her cool but inside her pride is
     pricking.


81   INT. FEETZ - SAME TIME                                        81

     Malakai and the clinging girl nuzzle in a back corner.
     She licks his ear, whispers into it. Malakai laughs.
     Then his expression abruptly darkens. A storm cloud
     comes over it. He gets up.


     MALAKAI'S POV - WALKING TOWARD

     ... two dealers a few feet away. They're talking to an
     Asian guy with a multi-colored Mohawk. One slips Mohawk
     a packet of coke, the other takes his money. WIDER as
     Malakai reaches the dealers. He doesn't explain, doesn't
     complain. He just starts swinging.


     SARA AND PATRICK

     The MUSIC changes and their dance ends. They stand there
     for a moment, a little caught up in each other. A little
     unsure of the moment. And then there's a scream!
     Several of them actually. Patrick reacts to it
     instinctively. Looking around. In a small pocket of the
     club he sees Malakai.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                                45.

81   CONTINUED:                                                       81

     PATRICK'S POV - MALAKAI

     in full fisticuffs with the two dealers.     Holding his
     own.


     ON PATRICK

     leaving Sara, slicing through a clot of looky-loos until
     he reaches Malakai. He jumps into the fray.


     INT. FEETZ - FIGHT - PATRICK AND MALAKAI

     A thick crowd around them, proceed to beat the living
     shit out of the two dealers.


     ANGLE ON SARA AND CHENILLE

     wrangling their way to the front line of the crowd, Diggy
     not far behind them. Sara looks on, dumbfounded and
     dazzled by what she sees, which is --


     PATRICK

     pummeling his dealer into cowering submission. Only then
     does he look over at Malakai who, eyes engorged with
     rage, is standing over his opponent, kicking and stomping
     him with no signs of letting up. Patrick can see
     Malakai's too far gone for talk. He rushes him from
     behind, nearly lifts Malakai off his feet to swing him
     away from the dealer's writhing body on the floor.


82   EXT. FEETZ - OUTSIDE VESTIBULE - CONTINUOUS ACTION               82

     The exit door bursts open and Patrick and Malakai tumble
     out. Patrick bends over, cups his knees as he catches
     his breath.

                                PATRICK
                  Man, what the hell are you doin'?
                  Tryin' to get sent back up?

                                MALAKAI
                  They the ones tryin' shit. Comin'
                  here. Squarin' off in my shit.

                                PATRICK
                  You couldn't let it slide?

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                            46.

82   CONTINUED:                                                    82

                                MALAKAI
                  Let it slide tonight, they come
                  back strong tomorrow. You know
                  that.

                            PATRICK
              Malakai, you fuck up parole, you
              ain't gonna back to JuVee.
              Eighteen and up, that's Jessup.
              Hardcore lockdown. You want that?

                                MALAKAI
                         (regards him coldly)
                  I want what was mine. Feetz is my
                  spot. I'ma do business here just
                  like I did before. Like we did
                  before. And if I gotta stomp some
                  niggers in my way, so be it.

     An uncertain but tense moment.     Patrick tries to salvage
     it.

                                PATRICK
                  Well, you definitely got the
                  stompin' part down.

     They look at each other.     Share a small laugh.

                                MALAKAI
                  We fucked those fools up for sure.

                                PATRICK
                         (crossing to exit door)
                  For damn sure, man.

     Patrick finds the door locked. He and Malakai hoist
     themselves over a high, wrought iron fence. Disappear
     behind it.


83   EXT. FEETZ - FRONT ENTRANCE - NIGHT                           83

     Distant WAIL of SIRENS as Feetz begins to empty out.
     Kids converge on the sidewalks. PICK UP Sara, Chenille
     and Diggy. Waiting and watching for Patrick. Diggy
     looks at them.

                                DIGGY
                  It's about to get real out here.
                  Cops and shit. I'm gone.

     She leaves. Chenille spots Patrick. Not too worse for
     the wear. She smiles with relief. Then Sara sees him.
     She smiles too.

                                                           47.

84   EXT. STREET (O'DONNELL HEIGHTS) - NIGHT                      84

     Sara, Patrick and Chenille. Walking home. Chenille's
     preaching to Patrick. He's not in the mood.

                              CHENILLE
                ... Yeah, I'ma tell you. Tell you
                like I keep tellin' you, Patrick.
                You need to let Malakai alone.
                Let him handle his own shit before
                he drags you down in it.

                              PATRICK
                Chenille. I heard you the first
                five hundred times.

     They round a corner bordering the Heights. Stop in front
     of it. Chenille, disconcerted with Patrick, looks dourly
     at Sara.

                               CHENILLE
                I'll see you Monday.
                       (to Patrick, like an
                        order)
                He'll walk you.

     As much as this makes sense, it still takes Patrick by
     surprise. Sara sees it in his face, regards Chenille
     with a false bravado.

                              SARA
                It's just a few blocks.   It's
                okay.

                              CHENILLE
                No, it's not okay. Would you tell
                the girl it ain't okay?

                              PATRICK
                It's not okay, okay?
                       (before she can
                        protest)
                Come on, Braveheart.


85   EXT. STREET - SARA AND PATRICK - NIGHT                       85

     walking.   Sara keeps stealing glances of him.   Or so she
     thinks.

                               PATRICK
                What?

                               SARA
                        (caught)
                What?

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                               48.

85   CONTINUED:                                                      85

                                PATRICK
                  Why you keep lookin' at me?

                                SARA
                  I have to look somewhere. The
                  streets are deserted. Might as
                  well look at you.

                                PATRICK
                  That's not why. You wanna know
                  somethin'. Ask somethin'.

                             SARA
               It's not a question. It's the way
               you were beating that kid up. You
               looked so mad.

                                PATRICK
                  I was mad and he wasn't no kid.
                  But you're from the suburb Mars,
                  right? Folks don't fight there.

                                 SARA
                  Not like that.
                         (some kind of
                          wonder)
                  You were really kicking his ass.

     It's not funny, the look on her face.      But Patrick
     laughs.

                             SARA
               Are you laughing at me?

     Dropping the smile, Patrick shakes his head.      Looks at
     her.

                             PATRICK
               My friend was in trouble.

                             SARA
               Maybe he's my question. Your
               friend. Chenille doesn't like
               him.

                                PATRICK
                  She likes him. It don't stop her
                  from trippin' off him now and
                  then. But Malakai's good people.
                  We go back. Way back. You know,
                  like they say, through thick and
                  thin.
                         (beat)
                  So, how'd you like Feetz?

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                                49.

85   CONTINUED:                                                       85

                                   SARA
                  It was great.

                                PATRICK
                  Once you got used to the music.

                                SARA
                  It wasn't the music I wasn't used
                  to. I mean, it's not the first
                  time I heard hip-hop, Patrick.

                               PATRICK
                  Uh-huh. Bet you listen to it all
                  the time.

     Patrick regards her with a sly, knowing smile. His stare
     is significant, unsettling. Sara's face flushes. She
     turns from him, hoping he didn't see it.

                                SARA
                  Not all the time. But a lot.

                                PATRICK
                  We gettin' any closer to your crib
                  or should we stop for food and
                  water?

     Sara snaps out of it. Looks around. Shit. First the
     flush and now this. She looks at him. She could kick
     herself.

                                   SARA
                  We passed it.

                                   PATRICK
                  You passed it.

     A look. They double back to her front door.        Pause on
     the stoop.

                            SARA
              Thanks for walking me.

                                   PATRICK
              No problem.

                                SARA
              So.      I'll see ya.

                            PATRICK
              Is that 'see ya' like gee-whiz,
              had a great time, can't wait to
              see you again?
                             (MORE)

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                               50.

85   CONTINUED:                                                       85

                                PATRICK (CONT'D)
                  Or is it like 'see ya,' I'll bust
                  a cap in your ass if you ever
                  darken my doorstep again?

     He makes it impossible not to smile.     So damned charming.

                                SARA
                  I haven't said gee-whiz since I
                  was six. But I really had a great
                  time... okay?

                                PATRICK
                  Okay.

     She enters the rowhouse. Patrick waits until the lights
     go on inside before he turns around and starts home.


86   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NEXT MORNING                    86

     Roy's making breakfast when Sara straggles in. She peers
     at the stove. Scrambled eggs and bacon. Toast too! A
     first for him.

                                ROY
                  Figured I'd put a little marrow in
                  your bones. Siddown, siddown.
                         (she slumps in chair)
                  You gettin' along at school?
                  Makin' friends...?
                         (as she nods robotically)
                  ... See any of 'em last night?

     He slides a plate in front of her.      Stands there holding
     his.

                                ROY
                  I came home on my break.

                                SARA
                  Oh.

     The succinct sneer in her voice gets to Roy.       He snaps at
     her.

                            ROY
              ... Oh? Jesus! You're hard!
              Look. You're seventeen. If you
              wanna go out, go out. But don't
              lie to me. On top of everything
              else, don't make me worry like
              that about you.
                            (MORE)

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                51.

86   CONTINUED:                                                       86

                                ROY (CONT'D)
                         (after long moment)
                  I didn't mean to yell.
                         (sits down; trying
                          like hell)
                  So how are the eggs? They good?

     Sara takes a small, tasteless sample, nods. They eat in
     silence. Then Sara looks over at him with genuine if
     detached remorse.

                                SARA
                  You're right. I should've said
                  something. I'm sorry.

     Roy exhales.     Finally, a chink in the brick wall.

                                ROY
                  What're you gonna do today?
                  Anything special?

                                   SARA
                  Nope.     Nothing special.


87   INT. RECORD STORE (EAST POINT MALL) - DAY                        87

     A track from TOP DOGG BLARES from invisible SPEAKERS.
     All of the store's many customers are teenage kids.
     Snookie, in sunglasses and a reversed baseball cap,
     clerks behind the counter. He's ringing up (and trying
     to rap to) a fly girl when Patrick walks in, overhears
     the overture.

                                    SNOOKIE
                  ... How   you   know I can't do
                  nothin'   for   you? I'm the hardest
                  workin'   man   in showbizness, girl.
                  C'mon.    Let   me be the bomb in your
                  shell.

     The fly girl rolls her eyes. Takes her bag. Leaves.
     Patrick looks at Snookie, wryly shakes his head.

                                PATRICK
                  You do the shit to yourself, man.
                  The bomb in your shell?

                                SNOOKIE
                  That was black magic, Patrick.
                  It's gonna work one of these days.

     He reaches behind the counter, hands Patrick a Jay-Z C.D.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                              52.

87   CONTINUED:                                                     87

                                SNOOKIE
                  Last one on the rack. I snatched
                  it up for you. Rang it up on my
                  discount.

                                PATRICK
                         (what Snookie's
                          waiting for)
                  Thank you, Snookie.

                                SNOOKIE
                         (as Patrick pays him)
                  You workin' or what, man?

                                 PATRICK
                  On my way.   Soon as I get outta
                  here...

     As he says this, his eyes wander around the store.      And
     he sees her in the stacks. Sara.


88   INT. RECORD STORE - HIP-HOP SECTION - MOMENTS LATER            88

     Sara with a bunch of C.D.'s. She juggles them in one
     hand, flips through Hip-Hop C.D.'s with another. She
     looks up to see Patrick standing beside her. He takes in
     the C.D.'s. Grins at her.

                                PATRICK
                  Throwin' a party?

     There's no wiggle room but Sara wiggles anyway.

                                SARA
                  Just adding to my collection. I
                  heard some stuff I didn't have
                  last night.

                                PATRICK
                         (that twinkle in his
                          eyes)
                  Well, you were fly anyway. Last
                  night. Dancin', I mean.

                                SARA
                  Not as fly as you.

                                PATRICK
                         (half-serious)
                  Nobody's as fly as me.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                                53.

88   CONTINUED:                                                       88

                                SARA
                         (dead-serious)
                  Not yet anyway.

     Patrick laughs. Looks at her.        Sara looks back at him.
     They're staring at each other.

                                PATRICK
                  Maybe we could hook up later.
                  After school or somethin'. Work
                  on some of your moves. If you
                  want.

                                  SARA
                  Okay.   Sure.

     Patrick nods affirmatively. Starts to leave.       Turns
     back, indicates her stack of C.D.'s.

                                PATRICK
                  By the way, Hammer's pretty much
                  played out.

                                SARA
                         (convincing lie)
                  Not to me.


89   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT                           89

     Sara's on the phone, unwrapping one of those T.V.
     dinners.

                                SARA
                         (into phone)
                  It was so... slamming, Lindsay.
                  The dancing! I'm going again.
                  What? No, I haven't seen anybody
                  get shot yet. God, I didn't move
                  to Bosnia.


90   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY - MORNING                          90

     A fight. Two black girls having at it. It's a ferocious
     match. Hair pulling, spit flying, punches landed,
     clothes torn apart.


     ANGLE ON SARA

     as she crowns the corner, comes to a bottleneck of
     students. It's like the nose bleed section of Caesar's
     Palace. The far hallway is the ring. Sara cranes her
     neck to see the action.
                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                            54.

90   CONTINUED:                                                   90

     ANGLE WIDENS as a security guard earns his hazard pay.
     He separates the two girls who are still swinging at each
     other. He throws one into a corner, hurls the other in
     an opposite corner.


     ON SARA

     as a WHITE GIRL standing next to her shakes her head
     lamentably.

                                   SARA
                  What happened?

     The White Girl studies Sara's suburban clothes and fresh-
     scrubbed face. Thinks she found a kindred spirit.

                                TONY (WHITE GIRL)
                  We freed the slaves and didn't
                  teach them no manners.
                         (before Sara can react)
                  You're Sara, right?
                         (as Sara warily nods)
                  Toni. I was gonna introduce
                  myself before but you're always
                  with that crowd. You know.
                  Chenille, her girls, that identity
                  crisis Diggy.

     Sara looks at Toni. Getting it. Getting her. The
     expression on her face closes off. Toni, too dense to
     read it, keeps talking.

                                TONI
                         (brightly)
                  We should hang out sometime, Sara.
                  The two of us. Whenever you
                  decide to lose the tan?

     Her inference clear, Toni flashes a brilliant smile,
     happily walks off. Sara shakes her head to herself.
     What an idiot.

     As Sara continues down the hall, a P.A. address comes on.

                                P.A. ADDRESS (V.O.)
                  Seniors, a reminder before you
                  rise up and change the world.
                  Mrs. Gwynn is holding all diplomas
                  hostage in her office. Her only
                  demand is the pleasure of your
                  company for career D-Day. Be
                  there.

     Sara enters her classroom, a bunch of kids in front of
     and behind her.

                                                               55.

91   EXT./INT. STREET/ROY'S ROWHOUSE (SO. BALTIMORE) - DAY           91

     Sara walks up the street (passing many black people),
     sees Roys' pickup. Shit. He's home.


92   CAMERA TRACKS                                                   92

     Sara as she enters their rowhouse, walks up a flight of
     stairs to their apartment. There's a JAZZ INSTRUMENTAL
     FAINTLY coming from it. And another NOISE. Foreign and
     yet familiar. Like grunting... but not. Sara unlocks
     the door. Opens it.


93   SARA'S POV - LIVING ROOM                                        93

     Her father's fucking somebody! On the couch. Half on it
     anyway. In broad daylight! The whore underneath him is
     moaning. Jesus!

     ANGLE WIDENS as Sara turns away from the spectacle.
     Reaches for Roy's sax. She blows the longest, shrillest
     note known to mankind.


94   ON ROY                                                          94

     The hair on his head stands up.    His body deflates
     instantly.


95   INT. KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER                                    95

     Sara sits at the table. Roy enters in a wrinkled T-shirt
     and battered jeans. His embarrassment is naked.

                             ROY
               I don't know what to say.    I
               don't.

                             SARA
               How 'bout fuck it? Or should I
               say fuck her? It's a fuck-fest,
               Roy.

                                ROY
               Don't talk to    me like that, Sara.
                      (beat)
               I thought you    were goin' to your
               friend's house    after school.
               Obviously, you    changed your mind.
               So I'm sorry.     Alright?

                             SARA
               Sorry you got caught.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                            56.

95   CONTINUED:                                                   95

                                ROY
                  Sorry I got... observed

     The "whore" with the Hich C is RHONDA. She stands
     between the living area and the kitchen entrance now.
     Sara tries not to look at her. Can't help it. She has
     to see the whore. Not bad looking, in a washed out,
     bottle blonde barfly kind of way.

                                RHONDA
                  Don't be mad at him. It's my
                  fault. I'm real sorry, honey.

                                ROY
                  It's nobody's 'fault.' It's over.
                  Let it be over. We're all adults.

     Sara glares at him.     The disingenuous Rhonda jumps in.

                                RHONDA
                  I think he means you know about
                  sex. That we have it and he likes
                  it. Isn't that what you mean,
                  Roy?

     Sara looks at her.     Bats her eyes.   Hard.

                                 SARA
                  Really?   How often do you have it?

                                RHONDA
                  Things been kind of slow since you
                  got here. Once upon a time we
                  were real rabbits, weren't we,
                  Roy?

     Verbal quicksand.      Roy can feel himself sinking.

                                 ROY
                  Rhonda.   Shut up.   Please.


96   INT. SARA'S ROOM - NOT MUCH LATER                            96

     OPEN CLOSE ON a framed photo of Glynn and Sara (in full
     ballet costume). Embracing. Happy. PULL BACK to see
     Sara. Sitting on the edge of her futon, holding Glynn's
     clover leaf necklace and staring at her mother's face.
     Lost. Lonely. Missing her. She kisses the lucky charm,
     smiles at Glynn, slips the necklace on.

                                                             57.

97   INT./EXT. CAR WASH - DAY                                      97

     Patrick, in coveralls, slouches over a mechanic's station
     studying. A few workers mill about, waiting for the next
     car on a slow day. A BMW with tinted windows peels into
     the lot on two wheels. Patrick looks up as Malakai and a
     tall, wiry, nattily dressed man get out.

                                PATRICK
               I got it.

     He exits into the lot.    Approaches Malakai and the man
     ("TUTE").

                                MALAKAI
               Medicine Man.     You know Tute.

     Tute takes in Patrick.    Looks around.   Snickers
     derisively.

                             TUTE
               You call this a job, man?

                             PATRICK
               Actually, I call it a car wash.
               The work I do, yeah, that's a job.

     Malakai lets out a nervous laugh.     Tute doesn't crack a
     smile.

                              TUTE
               I need some sticks.    Watch my
               ride, Malakai.

     Tute enters the cashier's office.    Patrick looks at
     Malakai.

                             PATRICK
               You hangin' with him now?    Think
               that's a good idea, 'Kai?

                             MALAKAI
               You got a better one?

                             PATRICK
               You could try layin' all this shit
               off for awhile. Give yourself a
               chance on the other side.

                             MALAKAI
               What other side?

                             PATRICK
               You know what I mean. It ain't
               like you don't have good sense.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                               58.

97   CONTINUED:                                                      97

                                MALAKAI
                  I got sense enough to know who I
                  am, what I can do and where I can
                  do it. I ain't like you. People
                  don't just up and hand me shit.

     Tute emerges from cashier's office lighting a cigarette
     from a fresh pack. He blows a plume of smoke into the
     air, regards Patrick.

                             TUTE
               We ain't here for our health.     You
               workin', then work.
                      (throws Patrick
                       car keys)
               And don't forget the rims.


98   INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM/KITCHEN -                98
     LATE THAT NIGHT

     Patrick, still in work coveralls, enters. First thing he
     does is pick up a stack of mail. Tracking him into
     kitchen as he crosses to refrigerator, takes out a plate
     Momma Dean's left for him. He sits down at the table,
     takes a breath, begins shifting through the mail. His
     face registers disappointment. Nothing. Again.


99   INT. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR'S OFFICE - DAY                          99

     Patrick sits across from Mrs. Gwynn, the reality check of
     Patterson High.

                             MRS. GWYNN
               Maybe you think it's enough to
               have the grades, get a full
               scholarship. But it isn't,
               Patrick. Georgetown makes mulch
               of students like you every
               semester. You have to be ready to
               change. Change friends.
               Lifestyle. Your entire point of
               view. What I'm saying is, options
               won't matter if you don't keep a
               clean nose to the grindstone.

                             PATRICK
                      (looks her right in
                       the eye)
               I know that, Mrs. Gwynn.

     The unflappable Patrick.    He doesn't fool Mrs. Gwynn.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                                 59.

99    CONTINUED:                                                       99

                                 MRS. GWYNN
                   Knowing's easy. Doing is hard.


      BEGIN MONTAGE

      in which a series of STUDENTS parade in front of
      Mrs. Gwynn.


100   SNOOKIE                                                          100

                                 SNOOKIE
                   Me? I wanna operate on cars.
                   Some place fly like the Kentucky
                   Derby. -- Ah-ha! Joke on you...


101   SPACED-OUT STUDENT                                               101

                                SPACED-OUT STUDENT
                 Career?   That the same as a
                 job...?


102   DIGGY                                                            102

                               DIGGY
                 A Rock-n-Rap club in L.A. I'm
                 gonna put a tattoo parlor on the
                 roof. Soon as I find some
                 investors...


103   SERIOUS STUDENT                                                  103

                               SERIOUS STUDENT
                 I want to be a lawyer, but I
                 believe in God so I'm not sure
                 about it...


104   TONI                                                             104

                               TONI
                 I'm moving to Idaho.      I hate it
                 here.


105   CHENILLE                                                         105

                                  CHENILLE
                 Beauty school.
                                  (MORE)

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                              60.

105   CONTINUED:                                                    105

                                 CHENILLE (CONT'D)
                   I'm a year behind 'cause of my
                   baby, but I'm gonna work during
                   the day, go to school at night.
                   That's my plan anyway...


106   MALAKAI                                                       106

                                MALAKAI
                   Plans? Yeah. I plan not to be
                   poor. Next question...


107   NIKKI                                                         107

                                 NIKKI
                   I get into U.M.B.C., financial
                   aid, everything...

                                 MRS. GWYNN
                   Do I detect a 'but'?

      Nikki folds her arms, regards her obdurately.

                              MRS. GWYNN
                I know you're -- how do you put
                it? -- Large here, Nikki. You
                enjoy that and it's fine for now.
                I guess. But you can't live your
                life like a popularity contest.


108   MONTAGE ENDS WITH SARA                                        108

      walking in.     Sitting down.

                                 SARA
                   I don't think it's realistic, what
                   you're asking. Things happen.
                   Things change. And the changes
                   change you. What's the point of
                   plans?

                                 MRS. GWYNN
                   To have a sense of direction.

                                 SARA
                   You can't direct destiny.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                              61.

108   CONTINUED:                                                    108

                                 MRS. GWYNN
                          (fingering Sara's
                           papers)
                   I see here that you trained for
                   Juilliard, that you auditioned.

                             SARA
               That was a long time ago.

                             MRS. GWYNN
               It was three months ago, Sara.
                      (the brick wall)
               Well, if you're not going to
               pursue dance, what are you going
               to do?

                                 SARA
                          (hadn't thought about
                           it)
                   I don't know. Take a year off.
                   Work. Go to college later on.

                                 MRS. GWYNN
                   Be careful with later on, Sara.
                   It's a slippery slope. Sometimes
                   you can run right on top of it and
                   it never catches up with you.


109   EXT. O'DONNELL HEIGHTS - ROOFTOP - LATE DAY                   109

      A low sun over the cityscape of Baltimore. PUSH IN ON
      Patrick and Sara, two dots that grow larger. He CLICKS
      ON a BOOM-BOX resting on the roof's ledge. A hip-hop
      track BLASTS.

                                 PATRICK
                   Feel the groove. Don't let the
                   music mess with you.

      He starts to move with the music. Sara tries to emulate
      him. They dance throughout the conversation.

                                 SARA
                   Did you always want to be a
                   doctor?

                                 PATRICK
                   Who said I wanna be a doctor?

                                  SARA
                   Chenille.   Everybody.

      He cinches her waist, pushes in her ass.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                                         62.

109   CONTINUED:                                                               109

                                    PATRICK
                   Keep it tight.     Watch your butt.

                                 SARA
                   What kind of doctor do you want to
                   be?

                                 PATRICK
                   Pediatrics. I like kids.         Come
                   on, stay with me. You're
                   slackin'.

                                 SARA
                   Do you have any? Kids.

                                    PATRICK
                   No.   Do you?

                                 SARA
                   I wasn't being smart, Patrick.

                                 PATRICK
                   Wouldn't be the first time.

      She stops.     Regards him.      He stops.    Regards her.
      Stalemate.

                                     SARA
                   Screw you.      I'm brilliant.

      He goes into a spin, a half-split, comes out of it
      swaggering and half-stepping around her. Sara gives him
      an impish look. Rises up on full pointe, turns out her
      legs and lifts one of them in a spiral just below his
      head. It happens in two blinks. So fast Patrick thinks
      it was a mirage. He stares at her, dumbfounded. Sara
      smiles. The look on his face is worth the pain in her
      joints. She blows some stray hair out of her face, puts
      her hands on her hips. Looks appropriately hapless.

                                 SARA
                   I didn't get it. That thing you
                   just did. Show me again?

                                 PATRICK
                   What was that shit you just did?

      He mimes the move -- badly.        Sara can't help it.       She
      laughs.

                                   SARA
                   A releve.    Over ice.     With a
                   twist.
                                    (MORE)

                                                           (CONTINUED)

                                                                   63.

109   CONTINUED:                                                         109

                                 SARA (CONT'D)
                          (succumbs to his
                           bewilderment)
                   Ballet. I used to dance, Patrick.

                                 PATRICK
                   You used to dance?

                             SARA
                Uh-huh. Used to as in don't any
                more. And don't ask me why.

      She sounds suddenly defensive.       Patrick's suddenly
      intrigued.

                                PATRICK
                Why not?

                              SARA
                Because I don't want to talk about
                it.

                              PATRICK
                That's why you brought it up. Did
                that whole relieve thing. 'Cause
                you don't wanna talk about it?

                              SARA
                Because it's not a big deal.       Can
                we just concentrate on this?

                              PATRICK
                Yeah, we can concentrate.
                       (a beat; goading her
                        a little)
                But I think it is a big deal.
                Whatever it is you don't wanna
                talk about.

      Sara shakes her head adamantly. He nods his head
      emphatically. Another stalemate. They dance coyly,
      seductively around it.


110   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - NIGHT                             110

      Sara. Doing stretching exercises as she talks on the
      phone.

                              LINDSAY (V.O.)
                       (over phone)
                I'm still gonna pray for you.
                              (MORE)

                                                         (CONTINUED)

                                                                 64.

110   CONTINUED:                                                       110

                                 LINDSAY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                   Jesus, Sara, you're in the
                   freaking ghetto. Forget the
                   riots. How are you supposed to
                   meet anybody?

      Sara slides down the wall, hugs her knees.

                              SARA
                       (into phone)
                I have met somebody. Sort of.       I
                think. I mean, there's this
                guy...


111   INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM/CHENILLE'S                111
      BEDROOM - NIGHT

      Patrick enters to hear CHRISTOPHER SCREAMING his lungs
      out. He passes down the hall to Chenille's room to find
      Christopher squirming in Kenny's arms. Kenny doesn't
      know what to do.

                                 PATRICK
                          (walking in)
                   What y'all doin' to my nephew?

      Patrick takes Christopher, holds him and consoles him
      until he settles down. Patrick pointedly hands the baby
      to Chenille, glares accusingly at her and Kenny as he
      quits the room. Kenny regards his son haplessly. Looks
      at Chenille.

                                 KENNY
                   Why's he do that?

                                  CHENILLE
                   He's a baby.   They cry.

                                 KENNY
                   He was screaming, Chenille.

                              CHENILLE
                He don't know you, Kenny.

                                 KENNY
                   I'm his father. He knows me.
                          (meaning now)
                   ... What should I do?

                                 CHENILLE
                   Come around more often.

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                                 65.

111   CONTINUED:                                                       111

                                   KENNY
                   See?    I can't talk to you.

                                 CHENILLE
                   And I can't depend on you! Am I
                   askin' you to do anything for him
                   you ain't supposed to do?

                                 KENNY
                   You don't ask, Chenille. You make
                   demands. You want money, you --

                                 CHENILLE
                   -- I want you to pick up some of
                   the slack. You always have an
                   excuse.

                                 KENNY
                   It's not like that.    I get tied
                   up.

                                 CHENILLE
                   You wanna talk about tied up? Try
                   gettin' up in the middle of the
                   night to change diapers and give
                   him bottles or stayin' up with him
                   when he's sick and havin' to drag
                   your ass to school the next day.

                                   KENNY
                   Look.    I'm doin' the best I can.

                                 CHENILLE
                   It ain't good enough, Kenny!


112   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GIRLS' LAVATORY - MORNING                  112

      Dripping, out-of-order faucets, graffiti-laced stalls,
      litter-strewn floors are underscored by the spooky
      flicker of fluorescent lights. Sara walks in. The
      bathroom appears to be empty. She's about to enter a
      stall when she hears the murmur of a voice. A guy's
      voice. Then a girl's whimper. She eases forward a bit.

                                 GIRL (O.S.)
                   I don't get paid 'til next week.

                                 MALE (O.S.)
                   Boo the fuck hoo. You can't put
                   my bizness up your nose on no
                   layaway plan. C'mon now. You
                   know what you gotta do.

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                                 66.

112   CONTINUED:                                                       112

      Sara ventures carefully forward to the edge of the
      stall's open door. She cranes her neck trying to see
      without being sen.


      HER POV - STALL

      A GIRL is seated on the toilet. A man straddles her, his
      crotch in her face. The Girl sees Sara. Something in
      her face gives this away. The "man" glances out past his
      shoulder. He looks right down our throat straight into
      Sara's eyes. Malakai.


      ON SARA

                                 SARA
                   What are you doing?

      Malakai backs up. The Girl jumps up, runs out the
      lavatory. Malakai zips up his pants. Sara's frozen,
      staring at him.

                                 MALAKAI
                   You didn't see nothin', you don't
                   say nothin'. Not unless you want
                   a taste for yourself. And that
                   can be arranged.

      He leaves.     Sara waits a moment.   Exits.


113   HALLWAY                                                          113

      She sees Mr. Hill, starts to move for him. Someone grabs
      her arm from behind. She turns, startled, a little
      afraid. It's the Girl from the stall. She looks Sara in
      the eye. Shakes her head. Don't. Mr. Hill walks by
      them unbeckoned.


114   EXT. INNER HARBOR (DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE) - PARK - DAY              114

      A perfect day. CAMERA PANS FROM the waterfront TO the
      bustling crowds of the inner harbor, then to a park
      across from this where Sara and Patrick are practicing.
      HIP-HOP MUSIC softly PLAYS from Patrick's BOOM-BOX. Sara
      watches his face as they dance.

                                 PATRICK
                   Didn't you like it when you 'used'
                   to dance?

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                                67.

114   CONTINUED:                                                      114

                                 SARA
                   Yeah I liked it. I was gonna go
                   to Juilliard. That school fucked
                   up my entire life. It's a long
                   story.

                                  PATRICK
                   Let me guess. You don't wanna
                   talk about it.

      Sara looks at him.     A soft smile is all she offers up.


115   EXT. PARK - SARA AND PATRICK - LATER                            115

      They lay on their bellies in the grass.       Close to each
      other.

                                 PATRICK
                   I stole a bike here once.

                                 SARA
                   Why'd you do that?

                                 PATRICK
                   'Cause I didn't have one.

                                 SARA
                   That's a good reason.

                                 PATRICK
                   I used to do wild shit like that.

                                 SARA
                   You and Malakai?

                                  PATRICK
                   Yep.   Most of the time.

                                 SARA
                   I don't get you guys.    You seem
                   so... different.

                                  PATRICK
                   We're not.

                                 SARA
                   Maybe you weren't then but you are
                   now. You said you changed.

                                 PATRICK
                   Doesn't make me different from
                   him. Not the way you think it
                   does.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                                68.

115   CONTINUED:                                                      115

                                 SARA
                   I think Malakai's scary.   And I
                   know you're not.

                                 PATRICK
                          (taking mild umbrage)
                   What you mean by scary? 'Kai's
                   tough. He has to be. He still
                   got a good heart. I know.

      Sara stares at the ground, struggling to tell him what
      she saw.

                                 SARA
                   Patrick.

                                 PATRICK
                   Let me finish. Me and him got
                   into some shit awhile back. Real
                   bad shit. We held up a gas
                   station off 95. I bailed the ride
                   -- jumped out the car. 'Kai kept
                   goin', got caught.
                          (pauses)
                   I knew what he was gonna do that
                   night. Knew the car was hot. I
                   woulda been guilty as him if they
                   had caught me, if Malakai had
                   served my name up. But he didn't.

                                 SARA
                   That means you owe him something?

                                 PATRICK
                   He did his time plus most of mine.
                   I owe him that.

                                 SARA
                   No matter how much he messes up?

                              PATRICK
                We all mess up. Maybe Malakai
                gave up. But he's still m'boy and
                he still got a chance. I ain't
                just gonna cross him completely
                off and be like everybody else.

      He looks at her and she doesn't have the heart -- or the
      nerve -- to tell him. A long moment. She plucks a
      dandelion from the grass, twirls it thoughtfully in her
      fingers.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                 69.

115   CONTINUED:                                                       115

                                 SARA
                   I stole a hat once. When I was
                   twelve. My mom found it under my
                   mattress, made me take it back.

                                    PATRICK
                   Gangsta' Sara.     Stole a hat.   Call
                   the F.B.I.

      She looks at him.       Smiles.   Twirls the dandelion under
      his nose.

                                 SARA
                   You gonna turn me in?

                                 PATRICK
                   I think I'll wait for you to
                   surrender.
                          (pauses)
                   Were you tight with your mom,
                   Sara? I mean, y'all get along and
                   shit?

                                 SARA
                          (guardedly)
                   Yeah...tight... got along and shit

                                 PATRICK
                   So she meant something to you.
                   How come you never talk about her?

                                 SARA
                   There's nothing to say.

                                 PATRICK
                          (studying her face)
                   Know why there's nothing to say?
                   Because you don't talk about her.
                   You won't talk about her.

                                 SARA
                   I'm sorry she's dead. God! What
                   do you want me to do? Run through
                   the streets screaming?

                                   PATRICK
                   Why not?    If it helps.

                                 SARA
                          (tersely)
                   Well, it won't. So drop it.

                                 PATRICK
                   And you call Malakai scary.

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                                 70.

115   CONTINUED:                                                       115

      She looks at him. Patrick grins. Sara knocks her legs
      against his. He knocks his legs back. A silly moment.
      But it transcends the tension and creates a sweet truce
      between them.


116   INT. PATRICK'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT                           116

      Momma Dean's fixing dinner. Patrick enters with the mail
      in his teeth, a load of books in his arms. He dumps the
      books on the counter, busses Momma Dean's check on the
      way to the 'fridge.

                                 MOMMA DEAN
                   I know you're not puttin' those
                   dirty hands inside my
                   refrigerator.

      Patrick  backs up to the sink. Washes his hands.
      Impishly  dries them on her apron. He sits, begins
      sifting  through the mail. Momma Dean pulls an envelope
      from her  pocket. Waves it at him.

                                 MOMMA DEAN
                   This what you're lookin' for?

      Chenille appears in the doorway. Patrick takes the
      letter. He's almost afraid to open it. But he does.
      And as he reads the letter, a slyly relieved smile
      spreads across his face. He tosses the letter in the
      air. Grabs Chenille and Momma Dean. And the three of
      them jump up and down together with joy.


117   INT./EXT. CITY BUS (MOVING) - SARA AND PATRICK - NIGHT           117

      Dressed to the nines. They look happy and relaxed, more
      so than we've ever seen. They sit close to each other.
      Very close.

                                 SARA
                   Are you gonna tell me where we're
                   going?
                          (as he grins, shakes
                           his head)
                   Why is the surprise for me?
                   You're the one with something to
                   celebrate.

                                 PATRICK
                   We can celebrate together.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                                   71.

117   CONTINUED:                                                         117

      She looks at him. Can't find any words. So she just
      goes into her evening bag and pulls out a small box. She
      hands it to him, a little nervous about how it will be
      received.

                             SARA
               I wanted to get you something and
               I couldn't figure out what. It's
               not much but I hope you like it.

      Patrick opens the box. Removes a key chain. It's
      engraved with the medical emblem (snake & staff, etc.).
      He regards her, touched.

                                  PATRICK
                   I like it.   I love it.    Thank you.

                                 SARA
                Wait.     There's more.

      She leans in, turns the key chain over in his hand. The
      back side of it is engraved with the words, "PATRICK
      REYNOLDS, M.D." Patrick locks eyes with Sara, lifts her
      hand to his lips. Kisses it softly. The gesture is
      succinct but alluring and, for a brief moment, they're
      the only two people in the world.


118   INT./EXT. CITY BUS - SARA AND PATRICK - LATER                      118

      The bus makes a stop and an older white woman gets on.
      Sits across from Sara and Patrick who have moved even
      closer to each other. Patrick's arm is around Sara's
      shoulder. He whispers something in Sara's ear. She
      laughs and looks up to see the white woman staring at
      them with a muted but obvious repugnance. Watching the
      woman from the corner of her eye, Sara drapes her arms
      around Patrick's neck, nuzzles at his ear. Patrick's
      eyes widen. Sara, playing this for all it's worth, folds
      one of her legs between his and whispers:

                                 SARA
                   We have an audience.      Work with
                   me.

                                  PATRICK
                          (nonplussed)
                   Work with you?

                                 SARA
                          (sotto voce,
                           through her teeth)
                   Grab something.

                                                         (CONTINUED)

                                                             72.

118   CONTINUED:                                                   118

      He grabs her ass   -- what else is there? -- runs his hand
      along her side.    The white woman, thoroughly disgusted,
      gets up and moves   to the back of the bus. Patrick and
      Sara look at each   other, burst out laughing.


119   EXT. BALTIMORE HALL - NIGHT                                  119

      The equivalent of D.C.'s Kennedy Center, the hall is
      awash in lights and activity. Men and women are donned
      in formal attire. Parking valets hover on the sidewalks
      waiting for cars. Into this, Sara and Patrick walk. She
      looks at the crowd, then sees the overhead banner --
      "Boston Ballet, A Command Performance." Sara's heart
      stops. Her feet freeze. Patrick looks at her. She
      looks positively catatonic.

                                 PATRICK
                   Surprise... Sara?

                                 SARA
                          (quietly urgent)
                   I can't. I can't go in.

                                 PATRICK
                          (doesn't understand)
                   You have to go in. This is where
                   I'm bringing you. The ballet.

                                  SARA
                          (beside herself)
                   I know, but --

                             PATRICK
                      (crestfallen)
               But what?

      Sara looks at him, feeling bad. Feeling stupid for
      ruining the evening. She bites her lip, shakes her head
      ("but nothing"). Patrick takes her and they go in.


120   INT. BALTIMORE HALL - AUDITORIUM - NIGHT                     120

      Sara and Patrick watch the Boston Company perform Igor
      Stravinsky's "Scenes De Ballet" as choreographed by
      Christopher Wheeldon. They're both enraptured. But
      while Patrick keeps sneaking excited glimpses of Sara,
      her eyes remain fixed on the dancers, the dance. She is
      utterly, totally engaged and amazed. The yearning that
      never really left her returns to tug at her heart and
      project her soul onto the stage.

                                                              73.

121   EXT. STREET (SOMEWHERE IN BALTIMORE) - NIGHT                   121

      Post-ballet, Sara and Patrick walk. She's quiet,
      introspective. Patrick's at a loss. He can't decipher
      her mood and, which is more, he's disappointed by it.

                              PATRICK
                I thought you would like it.

                              SARA
                I did.

                              PATRICK
                You ain't actin' like you did.

      She looks over at him, tries to smile.

                              SARA
                I'm sorry.

      They come to a small, secluded bridge.     Sara sits down on
      the edge of it. Patrick follows suit.      A long moment.

                              SARA
                I don't want you to think I didn't
                have a good time tonight, Patrick.
                I did. But ballet isn't a part of
                my life anymore.

                              PATRICK
                Why not? What happened? You just
                woke up one day and decided to
                waste your talent.

                              SARA
                       (without rancor)
                How do you know I have talent?
                Because I did some stupid leg
                trick.

                              PATRICK
                I saw the look on your face when
                you did it, Sara. The same look I
                saw tonight. Goofy happy. So if
                you're gonna tell me somethin'
                about not dancing, at least tell
                me somethin' real.

      A long, difficult moment wherein Sara attempts to find
      the words, face the pain that comes with them. Finally,
      she looks at him.

                              SARA
                Maybe I don't want it to be real.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                              74.

121   CONTINUED:                                                    121

      She stares out at the water, the moon reflected off of
      it. It's hard to reconcile that beauty and the turmoil
      she's feeling. But she goes on.

                              SARA
                What I want is to wake up and see
                my mom. For things to go back to
                the way they were. When they made
                sense. When my life made sense.
                       (because)
                And it's all my fault. She got
                scraped off the highway for me,
                for my fucking audition. She was
                rushing. It was raining. It was
                raining...
                       (a torrent)
                ... But she promised to be there.
                I made her promise. And then I
                didn't wait for her. I should
                have but they called my name and I
                didn't say anything. I just went
                out and danced. I was mad. I
                needed her and she wasn't there.

      She buries her face in her hands, breaking down, racked
      with tears and guilt. Patrick puts his arms around her.

                              SARA
                       (inconsolable)
                She was dying while I was dancing
                and I was mad at her and I'm
                sorry. I'm sorry...

                              PATRICK
                It's not your fault it rained or
                she died. Or that you danced.
                That's what you were there for.
                Your mom would've expected you to
                do what you did.

      Sara, choking on tears, regards him forlornly.

                              SARA
                That's what makes it so bad. She
                always did what was right for me.
                I wanted to be a prima ballerina
                -- had to be. Even if it took
                most of our money, all of her
                spare time. I didn't care. It
                was my stupid dream and it killed
                her. All she wanted was for it to
                come true.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                           75.

121   CONTINUED:                                                  121

                                 PATRICK
                   You still got whatever you had
                   when your mom was alive, Sara.
                   She wouldn't want you to give up.

      Sara swipes at her face, looks up at him, still crying.

                                 SARA
                   I know... but she... I just don't
                   think I can do it without her.

                                 PATRICK
                          (holding her)
                   Do you want to do it, Sara? I
                   mean you. Do you want Juilliard?

                                   SARA
                   Yeah.   I do.

                                 PATRICK
                   Then it's on you to make the dream
                   come true.

                                  SARA
                   Yeah.   For my mom.

                                  PATRICK
                   For her.   For you.


122   EXT. ROY'S APARTMENT/STREET - THAT NIGHT                    122

      Patrick walks Sara to the front door. They pause on the
      stoop. Neither of them wants the night to end.

                                 SARA
                   See you tomorrow?

      A rhetorical question under the circumstances. Patrick
      regards her tenderly, moves her hair from her eyes.
      Stares deeply into them. Sara smiles wanly, certain she
      looks like shit. But it doesn't matter. The moment has
      named itself. And so, with more certainty than passion,
      they kiss.


123   INT. SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT                                    123

      CAMERA PANS the room, PICKING UP small touches from
      Sara's past life, her previous bedroom -- more on display
      than we've seen before. HOLD ON closet door. A beat
      before Sara emerges from behind it, ballet slippers in
      hand. She takes a deep breath. Slides them on. Peers
      down at her feet. Wiggles them. Nothing magical or
      mystical but simply wonderful. Gleefully wonderful.
      Like the end of a long day's journey to home.

                                                               76.

124   EXT. INNER HARBOR COMPLEX   (DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE) - DAY         124

      Sara and Patrick negotiate the heavy pedestrian traffic,
      exit the complex. He leads her to a mall of trees and
      bike paths.

                              PATRICK
               Lemme see that move you did.     That
               cute leg relieve thing.
                      (as she shakes
                       her head)
               Come on, Sara.

                             SARA
                      (hates to admit this)
               It hurts! I'm out of shape and it
               hurts. Okay? Satisfied?

                              PATRICK
                       (admiring her)
                That's what you call outta shape,
                what's it take to get you in
                shape?

                                SARA
                Practice.

                              PATRICK
                This is the perfect spot for that.
                You can run around and I can sit
                under the trees and watch you.

                              SARA
                I don't get in shape like that.
                But it's still a good spot.
                       (diffidently)
                I got my application for
                Juilliard. Just in time too.
                They're holding auditions in
                Baltimore next month.

                                PATRICK
                That's great!

      She looks at him, shakes her head.   Not that great.

                              SARA
                I'll never be ready in a month.

                              PATRICK
                Sara, you puttin' the mojo on
                yourself.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                                77.

124   CONTINUED:                                                       124

                                  SARA
                           (a smile in spite of
                            herself)
                   Mojo?

                              PATRICK
                Negative shit. White folks call
                it karma. The bad kind.

                              SARA
                You don't understand. Ballet
                takes a lot of time, a lot of
                preparation. I used to practice
                two, three hours every day. I'm
                so far behind...

      ... And unsure and afraid. Which Patrick can sense.        But
      he won't let her go there or stay there. He's firm,
      matter-of-fact.

                              PATRICK
                Quit whinin' and catch up then.

                              SARA
                It's not as easy as that. My free
                form still sucks. It's still the
                weakest part of my routine. That
                hasn't changed.

                                 PATRICK
                   So I'll help you with it.

                                  SARA
                   You will?

                                 PATRICK
                          (surprised that she's
                           surprised)
                   Yeah. I'll help you. Tell me
                   what you need to do and let's get
                   busy.


      MONTAGE SEQUENCE

      BEGINS OVER THEME MUSIC.


125   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT                       125

      Sara in the mirror dressed in leotards and tights.       She
      bends forward from the hip, extends a leg, a
      corresponding arm.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                                78.

125   CONTINUED:                                                      125

      As she tries to complete the arabesque, the backward-most
      leg buckles. She steadies herself. Starts over.

      SARA - IN VARIOUS STAGES OF GETTING BUSY


126   PATTERSON FOOTBALL FIELD                                        126

      Hip-hop hybrid with Patrick.


127   DANCE STUDIO                                                    127

      In class.    Struggling to keep up.


128   STREET                                                          128

      On way to and from bus stop.    Practicing as she walks.


129   DANCE STUDIO                                                    129

      Alone with her instructor.    Looking good.


130   DANCE STUDIO - LATER                                            130

      Alone with her instructor.    Looking better.


131   ROY'S BATHROOM                                                  131

      Soaking and tending her bleeding feet.

      MONTAGE ENDS.


132   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING AREA                              132

      OPEN CLOSE ON a black hand shaking a white one. PULL
      BACK to reveal Patrick and Roy. Sara enters looking
      striking, pretty, very down. Chenille's influence is
      written all over her makeup and her clothes. Overlooking
      Roy, she blithely tags Patrick.

                                 SARA
                   Let's skip.
                          (cursory, to Roy)
                   Later.

      They leave. Roy stands in the middle of the room,
      dumbfounded.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                               79.

132   CONTINUED:                                                     132

                                 ROY
                   Let's 'skip'?
                          (mumbling to
                           himself)
                   Three months and she's skipping?


133   INT. FEETZ - BAR - NIGHT                                       133

      Usual suspects, usual music. Patrick hands Sara a call-
      brand beer. Leans in with his drink, openly and
      contently with her.


      ANOTHER ANGLE

      Nikki and her crew (Jasmin, Tiff'nee, Alyssa). Nikki
      hasn't seen Patrick and Sara. She's showing her crew a
      dance.


      ANOTHER ANGLE

      Chenille, Diggy and another black girl.     Fraternizing.


      ANOTHER ANGLE - DEEJAY BOOTH

      A chrome-domed deejay with a Barry White baritone bellows
      into his mike as he changes the music.

                              DEEJAY
                Master P with the 'Ghetto D'.
                Showmesomethin', showmesomethin',
                give up that cruel. Eyes on you!

      WIDER as the dance floor swells with kids. PICK UP Sara
      and Patrick among them. She looks at him nervously. He
      smiles.

                              PATRICK
                Nobody's watchin' you but me.

      A gallant lie. Sara tries    to believe it. They dance.
      Practice has made her near   perfect. Their movements are
      ambitious, nimble, better   than anyone else on the floor.
      They move so well together   that Snookie, dancing nearby,
      starts chanting:

                                SNOOKIE
                Go, Patrick!    Go, Patrick!

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                 80.

133   CONTINUED:                                                       133

      FROM ANOTHER ANGLE OF DANCE FLOOR

      Diggy.     Jiggling and wildly gyrating.   Chiming in --

                                  DIGGY
                   Go, Sara!   Go, Sara!


      PATRICK AND SARA

      building up a sweat; confidently dancing at fever pitch.

                                DEEJAY (V.O.)
                  Everybody have funk, funk, funk!


134   INT. FEETZ - DANCE FLOOR                                         134

      Sara and Patrick, still going at it. Snookie, Diggy and
      others prance around them like backup dancers.


      ANOTHER ANGLE - NIKKI

      standing with her crew dourly observing Patrick and Sara.

                                NIKKI
                  Watch me squash their shit.    Hard.


      ON NIKKI

      Shoving, pushing, and barging her way up to Patrick.
      Without preamble or regard for Sara, she starts dancing
      with him. Patrick looks at Sara but he's somehow dancing
      with Nikki. Sara retreats with daggers in her eyes.
      Pissed.


      PATRICK (AND NIKKI)

      unresponsive as she grinds her body into his, raw and
      wild.


      SARA

      standing where she can see but can't be seen from the
      dance floor. From a curtain of kids, Malakai suddenly
      appears at her side. Sara can't move. She's boxed in.
      Malakai indicates Nikki and Patrick with slick
      satisfaction, whispers derisively:

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                                81.

134   CONTINUED:                                                      134

                                  MALAKAI
                   You ain't never gonna look as good
                   as she does with him. That's oil.
                   You're milk. Ain't no point in
                   tryin' to mix.

      He evaporates into the crowd.        Sara stands there.


      PATRICK AND NIKKI

      as a SLOW DANCE BEGINS. Nikki starts to press herself
      against Patrick. Patrick holds her off with both arms.
      Walks away.


      WIDER ANGLE - DANCE FLOOR - FAVOR PATRICK

      moving toward Sara.

      A stark, apologetic expression on his face. He takes her
      hand. Sara fiercely jerks away. Patrick grabs her hand
      again, more emphatically this time. But Sara won't budge
      from the spot where she's standing. So Patrick slides
      his arms around her, holds her without moving. They
      remain like this for a moment or two until they slowly
      begin to dance. We PUSH IN ON them in this little space.
      Patrick's lips brush Sara's ear.

                                 PATRICK
                   Sara...?

                                 SARA
                   What?

                                 PATRICK
                I'm sorry.


      ANGLE PAST THEM ON MALAKAI

      slow dancing with his flavor of the night. Eyes on Sara
      and Patrick. Both underwhelmed and resentful of what he
      sees.


135   INT. ROY'S ROWHOUSE - HALLWAY/FRONT DOOR - THAT NIGHT           135

      Sara unlocks the door. She and Patrick enter. She turns
      on the lights. Looks at him. Answers the unspoken
      question.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                   82.

135   CONTINUED:                                                         135

                                 SARA
                   He's in D.C. Blues Alley.   He'll
                   be gone all night.

      Patrick sits down on the sofa. Sara crosses to the
      STEREO, turns it ON. A SAX SOLO begins playing.

                                SARA
                   Roy's demo. The only one he ever
                   cut. Kinda grows on you.

      A beat.   Somewhere between five seconds and forever.
      Then:

                                 SARA
                   Wanna see my room?

      Patrick looks at her, nods. He gets up, follows Sara
      behind the partition into her "room." They stand there
      for a moment. He cups her face with his hands. Kisses
      her. They begin to take off each other's clothes,
      alternately sure and fumbling; a bit awkward, a bit
      urgent. Sara unzips Patrick's pants, catches something
      other than his clothes. Patrick winces in pain. She
      looks at him with an embarrassed grimace. Says this very
      low.

                                 SARA
                   Sorry...

      They kiss again, stumble backward to her futon.       Fall
      down upon it and begin to make love.


136   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY - PATRICK AND SARA -                 136
      DAY

      CAMERA TRACKS them as they walk down the hall hand-in-
      hand, sometimes exchanging greetings with other students.
      They are officially a couple and they appear to be in
      love. At the door to Sara's next class, Patrick busses
      her lips before she enters.


137   INT. SARA'S CLASSROOM - CONTINUOUS ACTION                          137

      No teacher is present. The class files in. Toni drops
      down in a chair beside Sara. She leans over in a
      conspiratorial whisper.

                                 TONI
                   Whatever you do, don't fuck him.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                                  83.

137   CONTINUED:                                                        137

                                  SARA
                   Excuse me?

                                 TONI
                   'Hit it and quit it,' that's their
                   motto.

                                   SARA
                   Whose motto?

                                   TONI
                   Black guys.    Everybody knows that.

      The teacher walks in.       Sara quickly whispers back to
      Toni.

                                 SARA
                   Don't forget, they all have big
                   dicks and beat their wives.
                   Everybody knows that too.


138   INT. RIB JOINT (SOMEWHERE IN BALTIMORE) - NIGHT                   138


      Malakai, along with Snookie and two brain donors, ARVEL
      and LIP, eat at a booth. Patrick strolls in gritty from
      work. Tired from work. He slides in next to Malakai.
      The mood is light, jovial.

                                 ARVEL
                   You smell, boy.

                                 PATRICK
                   How can a piece of shit tell?

      The table cracks up.

                                 MALAKAI
                   You been scarce lately, man.
                   Where you been?

                                 ARVEL
                   Somewhere dreamin' of a White
                   Christmas...

                                 LIP
                   ... And Christmas ain't even for
                   'nother six months.

                                 SNOOKIE
                   Lip. It's a so-to-speak thang,
                   you ignorant fuck.
                                 (MORE)

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                  84.

138   CONTINUED:                                                        138

                                  SNOOKIE (CONT'D)
                           (looks at Patrick)
                   So.   So to speak? Whassup.

                                 PATRICK
                          (snatching up one of
                           his ribs)
                   Back out my business, boy.

                                 MALAKAI
                          (watching Patrick
                           keenly)
                   You tappin' that white girl, man?
                          (half joking)
                   That's why you ain't got time for
                   your boyz no more, you too busy
                   frontin'. Too busy snowflakin'.

      Patrick lifts one of Malakai's ribs, responds coolly.

                              PATRICK
                How am I frontin', 'Kai? I made
                time for this bullshit, didn't I?

                              LIP
                Aww, man. You busted. That's why
                your jaws are gettin' so tight.

                              SNOOKIE
                You the one need his jaws
                tightened with your pork-ass
                instigatin' self.

                              ARVEL
                       (re: Patrick's roving
                        fingers)
                Order somethin', Patrick. This
                ain't no goddamn soup line.

      Patrick grabs some of Arvel's fries, chews them in his
      face.

                                 PATRICK
                   Y'all hangin' tonight or what?

                                 MALAKAI
                   We thinkin' about slidin' through
                   that new rec center opened up on
                   the Eastside. You ridin'?

                                  PATRICK
                   Eastside?   That's the wrong side.
                                  (MORE)

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                               85.

138   CONTINUED:                                                     138

                                 PATRICK (CONT'D)
                   I ain't messin' with those fools
                   over there. You know how they
                   are.

                                 MALAKAI
                   I ain't pressed. I got my own
                   shit.

      Shorthand. The table stops. Malakai glances around,
      lifts his shirt to expose a gun. Patrick stares at
      Malakai with disbelief.

                             MALAKAI
               What you think? I'ma keep walkin'
               around waitin' for some chump to
               cap me? I'ma protect myself.

                             PATRICK
               That ain't protection. It's an
               excuse for some unnecessary
               mayhem.

                             MALAKAI
               Ain't nothin' unnecessary 'bout
               it. Shit. Mayhem and madness.
               That's a black man's life.

                             PATRICK
               How you know? You ain't tried
               nothing else. Now you sittin' up
               here strapped for no good reason.
               You askin' for trouble, Malakai.
                      (as Malakai laughs)
               You think this shit's funny?

      Snookie shifts uncomfortably. Arvel and Lip look at
      Malakai. Malakai looks at Patrick, coldly drops his
      smile.

                                 MALAKAI
                   I think it's funny you think it
                   ain't necessary. You act like you
                   don't know where you are no more,
                   Patrick, and whassup out there for
                   anybody who ain't you. Maybe
                   that's what happens when a white
                   girl goes to your head.

                                 LIP
                   -- Or gives you some.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                               86.

138   CONTINUED:                                                     138

                                  PATRICK
                   Fuck you, Lip.
                          (looks at Malakai)
                   I know what's out there. I also
                   know you can get past it. But
                   that ain't gonna happen, 'Kai,
                   long as you keep gettin' in your
                   own way.

                                 ARVEL
                          (peacemaker)
                   Aw'ight. Y'all said what you had
                   to say. We back to bein' boyz.
                   Patrick. Chill. Have some ribs.


139   INT. ROY'S ROWHOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT                          139

      Sara and Patrick, post-coital. She's in her robe. He's
      dressed but they're fooling around as they fix
      sandwiches. Patrick drops down in a chair. Sara drops
      down on his lap.

                                 PATRICK
                   What's your favorite flower?

                                 SARA
                   I don't have a favorite.

                                 PATRICK
                   Yeah, but if you did...

                                 SARA
                   I dunno. Maybe cymbidiums --
                   orchids. They're sort of show-
                   boaty but they're pretty.

                                 PATRICK
                   What's your favorite color?

                                    SARA
                   Agua.

                                 PATRICK
                   What's your second favorite color?

                                    SARA
                   Mmm.    Mauve.

                                 PATRICK
                   You're makin' this real hard,
                   Sara. Those ain't exactly tuxedo
                   colors.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                  87.

139   CONTINUED:                                                        139

      Sara swings her legs around, facing him, straddling him.

                                  SARA
                   Nut.   What are you talking about?

                                 PATRICK
                   I was tryin' to get around to
                   askin' you somethin' but since I'm
                   some sorta nut, you probably
                   wouldn't wanna go to prom with
                   me...

      She throws her arms around his neck, kissing him.
      Patrick slides his hands under her robe, cups her
      breasts. Sara responds to him. They are too engrossed
      in this intimacy to hear the FRONT DOOR OPENING, to see
      Roy until he walks in and sees them. Sara leaps up,
      closes her robe. Patrick doesn't know what to do. He's
      caught. Straight up. Red-handed. Roy's eyes dart
      between them, settle on and slice into Patrick.

                                 ROY
                   Patrick -- it is Patrick, isn't
                   it?
                          (a small awkward nod)
                   Well, I think you were just
                   leavin'.

      Patrick stands up.      Sara grabs his arm defiantly, holds
      him back.

                                 SARA
                   Why does he have to leave?   We're
                   all adults. Right?

                                 ROY
                   He either leaves or I throw his
                   ass out. Your call, Sara.

      Patrick jerks his arm free from Sara, grabs his jacket
      off the back of his chair. He back-talks Roy as he
      passes him.

                                 PATRICK
                   Chill, man. I'm goin'. You don't
                   have to come off with all 'at.

                             ROY
               Who the hell are you to tell
               me how to come off? You're in my
               house alone with my daughter.

                                                        (CONTINUED)

                                                               88.

139   CONTINUED:                                                     139

      It takes everything Patrick has to keep walking until
      he's out the door. It slams behind him. Sara marches up
      to Roy, furious.

                              SARA
                I hate being your daughter.    You
                ruin everything.

      She tries to stomp off.    Roy kicks a chair in her path.
      Snarls.

                              ROY
               Siddown.
                      (not a request; an
                        order; as she sits)
               It's a free country, you can hate
               me. Ain't like that's exactly
               news. But disrespectin' me,
               that's where the road ends, Sara.
               I don't want him up here again. I
               mean it.

                             SARA
               You mean it because he's black.

                             ROY
               Don't start that bullshit!

                             SARA
               Why's it bullshit? Because you
               hang with black guys and play jazz
               and have the hots for Angela
               Bassett?

                             ROY
               Because he was in my house with
               his hands all over my daughter!

                              SARA
                Keep telling yourself that. Just
                don't expect me to believe it. I
                saw how you looked at him. But
                you didn't see him. Well, for
                your information, he's a straight-
                A student with more heart and guts
                than you'll ever have!

                                 ROY
                   Yeah? Well, when are you gonna
                   have the guts to say what you
                   really want to say to me, Sara?

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                               89.

139   CONTINUED:                                                     139

                                 SARA
                          (screaming at him)
                   Want me to say it? You were a
                   piece of shit husband and you're a
                   piece of shit father! You were
                   never there for Mom or for me.
                   You took off and never looked
                   back. So don't talk to me about
                   guts.

      Not quite the truth, but near enough to sting. It quiets
      Roy down. He regards her with regret and guilt.

                                 ROY
                   Sounds like you have it all
                   figured out.

                             SARA
               I have you figured out. You think
               you can make up all the time you
               missed, all the things you didn't
               do? You can't! I'm here because
               I have to be and it's a goddamned
               nightmare.

                             ROY
               Well, you might as well wake up
               and get used to it, Sara, because
               that's the way things are
               sometimes, the way life is.

                             SARA
               How the hell would you know?
               You've been asleep for the past
               thirty-seven years!

      Now she does storm off. This time Roy lets her.     He
      can't find the words to deny what she's said.


140   EXT. PATTERSON HIGH - QUAD OUTSIDE CAFETERIA - DAY             140

      A break between classes draws the requisite claques and
      cliques. Sara and Patrick huddle over a chemistry book,
      attentive to each other. Nikki stands off watching both
      of them. Malakai saunters up to her smoking a joint.
      Hazily indicates Patrick and Sara.

                                 MALAKAI
                   The 'Love Boat.'

                                 NIKKI
                   Love shit. That bitch is tap-
                   dancin' on my last nerve.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                                90.

140   CONTINUED:                                                      140

                                 MALAKAI
                   Looks like she's tap-dancing on
                   your last boyfriend. She got it
                   like that? Naw. Never mind.
                   Stall it. I ain't heard shit.

                                  NIKKI
                   Stall what?   What you hear?

                                 MALAKAI
                   Some trash she's talkin'.   About
                   you.

                                  NIKKI
                   About me?

                                 MALAKAI
                   Yeah. How you ain't all 'at since
                   Patrick's takin' her to the prom.
                          (in for the kill)
                   I am a little bit... chagrined
                   though, Nikki. You lettin' some
                   white ho' show you up like that.

      He regards her with bemused pity. Nikki, with all her
      inner outrage, manages to salvage her pride. She sneers
      in his face.

                                 NIKKI
                   Fuck you, Malakai. Fuck her too.

                                 MALAKAI
                          (gaily, a she sails off)
                   Ain't no need in fuckin' me...
                   stuck up, bitch... I'm on your
                   side


141   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY - DAY                             141

      Patrick drinks at a water fountain. Looks up. Malakai's
      standing there. There's still some tension between them.

                                 MALAKAI
                   Yo. Me and the boyz fixin' to
                   shoot some hoops. Us against
                   Druid Hill. If you interested.

                                  PATRICK
                   Druid Hill?   Hell yeah.

                                 MALAKAI
                   Gotta skip last period.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                             91.

141   CONTINUED:                                                   141

                                 PATRICK
                   I got study hall. Don't matter
                   anyway. Not with those suckers.
                   I'll be back before the bell
                   rings.

      They walk off together and, after a few steps, begin
      dribbling imaginary balls down the hall.


142   INT. GYM (PATTERSON) - DAY                                   142

      A girls' basketball game in progress. Sara's playing
      defense. She's on Nikki's team. She blocks a shot but
      Chenille, on the opposing team, gets it on the rebound.
      Basket. Nikki shoots Sara a murderous look. Stupid,
      uncoordinated bitch.


143   EXT. DRUID HILL PLAYGROUND - BASKETBALL COURT                143

      A four-on-four game in progress. Patrick, Malakai,
      Snookie and Arvel versus the Druid Hill Two Deuces. An
      unseen BOOM BOX BLASTS the music of JAY-Z throughout.
      Patrick has the ball. He passes it to Malakai. They AD-
      LIB insults to the Two Deuces. This is heaven for them.
      Talking shit and playing ball. The best time.

      INTERCUT WITH:

144   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GYM                                    144

      Sara takes her defensive position against an opposing
      player, successfully blocks the shot, tries to slam the
      ball to Nikki. It clips Nikki's head, bounces out of
      bounds. Nikki, her dignity stunned, her patience out,
      walks up to Sara, shoves her to the floor. Sara looks up
      at her as some disembodied voice calls out:

                              FEMALE VOICE
                Don't start nothin', won't be
                nothin'! Stay down, girl!


145   EXT. DRUID HILL - BASKETBALL COURT                           145

      Malakai dribbles the ball around one of the Two Deuces,
      skies it. Misses the hoop. Patrick rebounds. Passes it
      back to 'Kai. He takes the shot. Makes it. Patrick and
      Arvel strut victoriously.


146   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GYM                                    146

      Sara jumps up, shoves Nikki back.    And the fight is on.

                                                             92.

147   EXT. DRUID HILL - BASKETBALL COURT                            147

      As the dejected Deuces look on, Malakai high-fives
      Patrick and Snookie. Arvel's moving into their circle
      when SHOTS RING OUT. Everybody on the court instantly
      dives to the ground for cover.


148   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - GYM                                     148

      Sara and Nikki tumble to the gym floor. The surprise is
      Sara. She matches Nikki blow for blow. It's a punishing
      fight for both of them and it only ends when the gym
      teacher separates them.


149   EXT. DRUID HILL - BASKETBALL COURT                            149

      A car speeds off. Patrick raises up, looks around.
      Malakai nods. He's okay. Snookie's crawling to the
      exit, snot-nosed and crying. He's okay. Then they see
      Arvel. Sprawled on the ground. Covered in blood. He
      seems lifeless.


150   INT. MRS. GWYNN'S OFFICE - SARA AND NIKKI - DAY               150

      In adjacent chairs across from Mrs. Gwynn's empty one.

                              NIKKI
                       (a hiss, under her
                        breath)
                It ain't over, bitch.

                             SARA
               Over? I don't even know why it
               started... bitch. And don't say
               it's about Patrick because it's
               not. It's not about him.

                            NIKKI
               No. It's about you. White girls
               like you. Creepin' up, takin' our
               men. The whole world ain't
               enough. You gotta conquer ours
               too.

                              SARA
                I like him, he likes me. And if
                you don't like that, screw you.

      Mrs. Gwynn walks in.   Sits down.    Looks reproachfully at
      them.

                               MRS. GWYNN
                Girls.   I think you need to talk.

                                                               93.

151   INT. ROY'S APARTMENT - LIVING AREA/SARA'S ROOM - DAY           151

      Roy's tuning his sax when Sara enters. Her face is a
      mess. Yet she drifts by, bruised and bent over, as if
      this were the norm. Roy does a double-take.

                              ROY
                What the hell happened to you?

                              SARA
                I got suspended. Two days.

      She straggles into her room.    Roy follows her to the
      futon.

                              ROY
                For what? Fighting?
                       (as she nods
                        like "no shit
                        Sherlock")
                Why were you fighting, Sara?

                              SARA
                       (sardonically)
                I'm not sure. I think it's some
                kind of black female thing.

      He sis down beside her, instinctively reaches out to
      touch her face, assess the damage. Sara sharply flinches
      away. But Roy persists and after a moment, she lets him
      minister to her.


152   INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - KITCHEN - EVENING                   152

      Patrick walks in, Arvel's dried blood stained into his
      clothes. Chenille's cooking with a sound-asleep
      Christopher slung over her shoulder. She and Patrick
      regard each other morosely.

                               CHENILLE
                How's Arvel?

      Patrick slumps down at the kitchen table.     He's barely
      audible.

                              PATRICK
                Pretty bad.
                       (almost to himself)
                Can't even play a got-damned game
                of ball no more.

      Chenille comes up behind him.    Squeezes, pats his
      shoulder.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                               94.

152   CONTINUED:                                                     152

                                 CHENILLE
                   You see Sara? She alright?
                          (as he looks up
                           with a question
                           mark)
                   You didn't hear? Nikki jumped off
                   at her in gym. It was fierce...

      Given the day, this is the straw on Patrick's back. He
      bolts from the table and on his way out nearly bumps
      heads with Kenny.


153   INT. ROY'S ROWHOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT                          153

      Patrick RINGS the DOORBELL. Sara opens the door
      slightly, just enough for Patrick to see her face.      It
      pisses him off.

                                   PATRICK
                   Shit!

                                   SARA
                   It's alright.    I'm okay.

      Roy appears in the space behind her, looking out.      Sara
      can feel his presence. Her eyes implore Patrick.

                                 SARA
                   Look.  It's not a good time.
                          (gently shutting
                           the door)
                   I'll see you later... I'm okay.


154   INT. LAUNDROMAT (SOUTHEAST BALTIMORE) - EARLY EVENING          154

      The laundromat is empty but for a few customers and
      Nikki. She's loading clothes from two large baskets into
      washers when her brother DIONDRE, 10, races in. He's
      grinning from ear-to-ear.

                              NIKKI
                Diondre, what your butt doin'
                here?

                              DIONDRE
                       (a taunting twist)
                I can go where I want. You the
                one on punishment.

      Nikki swings a wet shirt with no intention of hitting
      him. She looks up. Patrick's standing in the doorway.
      Diondre runs up to him, holds out the palm of his hand.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                               95.

154   CONTINUED:                                                     154

                                   DIONDRE
                   There she go.    Gimme my two
                   dollars.

      Patrick pays him. Diondre darts out. Patrick walks up
      to Nikki. Nikki clenches, tries to dismiss him with a
      backhanded wave.

                                 NIKKI
                   Whatever it is, I don't wanna hear
                   it.

      Patrick leans up against a washing machine and for a long
      moment just looks at her. The walk there has composed
      his emotions.

                                 PATRICK
                   I thought you had somethin' to say
                   to me.

                                 NIKKI
                   You thought wrong.

      An old black woman is avidly, openly watchin' them.
      Patrick indicates a bench on the other side of the
      laundromat. Nikki petulantly follows him there. They
      sit. Patrick looks at her.

                             PATRICK
               Somethin' must be on your mind for
               you to get up in Sara's face,
               start all this drama. What you
               tryin' to prove, Nikki?

                                 NIKKI
                   You're the one tryin' to prove
                   something. Stuck up in her shit
                   like she's somethin' special.

                                 PATRICK
                   What if she is? What's it to you?
                   You didn't see me trippin' off
                   that Howard dude and I could have.
                   I coulda tripped hard, Nikki.

                                 NIKKI
                   That was different.

                                 PATRICK
                   How you gonna call it different?

      She stands up.     Looks down at him.    Raises her voice.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                            96.

154   CONTINUED:                                                  154

                             NIKKI
               Because she's white and he ain't.
               And don't sit there like you don't
               know what I'm talkin' about,
               Patrick.

                             PATRICK
                      (glaring at her)
               You don't even know what you're
               talkin' about, Nikki.

                                    NIKKI
                   I don't?     Y'all black men, soon as
                   you even    think about goin'
                   someplace    good, first thing you do
                   is find a    white girl to take with
                   you.

                                   OLD WOMAN (O.S.)
                   Uh-huh.

      Patrick glares in the Old Woman's direction, then back at
      Nikki.

                                 PATRICK
                   I thought I was goin' someplace
                   good with you. You the one called
                   me off. But you ain't tryin' to
                   remember that. Now you mad. Why?
                   Because she's white and I like
                   her? I'm with her.

                                NIKKI
                   Please. You're with her because
                   she's white. That's what sets me
                   off.

                                 PATRICK
                          (exasperated)
                   It ain't got no business settin'
                   you off! Me and her ain't got
                   nothin' to do with you and what
                   you think. So keep your hands off
                   her and that shit to yourself.

      Nikki folds her arms across her chest, looks at him
      defiantly.

                                 NIKKI
                   I don't think it, I know it. But
                   you go ahead, deny it. That's
                   what y'all always do.

      She turns on her heels, goes back to her machine.
      Patrick rises, sees the old woman glinting at him. He
      holds her hateful stare for a moment, then walks out.

                                                                97.

155   INT. REYNOLDS' APARTMENT - CHENILLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT           155

      Chenille and Kenny.     In the middle of a contentious
      moment. He tries to     give her some money. She snatches
      it out of his hand.     Kenny looks at her. He's hurt.
      Chenille's too mad to    see it.

                                 CHENILLE
                   What? I'm supposed to get excited
                   because you decided to skate by
                   and drop a dollar on the dresser?

                                 KENNY
                   It's more than a dollar. And it's
                   all I got.
                          (beat)
                   I got laid off rom B.W.I.,
                   Chenille. I been workin' part-
                   time. Money's tight. You know
                   how you are about money. That's
                   way I haven't been coming around.

      Chenille stares at him for a long moment.       Her voice is
      low.

                                 CHENILLE
                   Money ain't got nothin' to do with
                   it, Kenny. You don't come around
                   because you don't feel like comin'
                   around. You don't want the
                   responsibility of comin' around.
                   As long as you out there and I'm
                   in here, you know your son's being
                   taken care of. You ain't got no
                   worries when it comes to him.

                                 KENNY
                   And you don't have no   feelings
                   when it comes to me.    All you do
                   is bitch and complain   about what I
                   don't do. I get sick    of that.

                                 CHENILLE
                   Be sick of it. You ain't got to
                   see me to see your son.

                                 KENNY
                   I'll be sure to keep that in mind.

      He leaves.    Chenille stands there, mad at him.    Mad at
      herself.


156   INT. FREE CLINIC (SOUTH BALTIMORE) - DAY                        156

      The lowest common denominator for misery.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                               98.

156   CONTINUED:                                                     156

      The room is filled with young women, most them black, and
      children of all ages. They are piled up like cars on a
      freeway, waiting to be seen. The noise level is at a
      peak when Chenille and Sara walk in. Chenille's carrying
      a fussy Christopher, his diaper bag and her backpack.
      Sara, wanting to be helpful, reaches for Christopher.

                                 SARA
                   Want me to take him?

      Chenille shakes her head. Walks to reception to sign
      herself in. Sara takes in the faces of girls younger
      than herself, the grime and gloom of the room. It's
      incomprehensible that this is a place where sick children
      are brought to get well. Chenille finishes at the desk.
      Returns to Sara. They cross to a corner of the clinic
      where they sit -- on the floor. Chenille indicates the
      receptionist bitterly.

                                 CHENILLE
                   That wench. You gotta stand over
                   her to make sure she puts your
                   name on the damn list. Triflin'
                   bitch.

      Chenille starts to change Christopher's diaper. He
      starts to wail and flail. Chenille can't placate him.
      One of his kicks connects with Chenille's open backpack,
      sends books and papers flying. Sara can see the veins
      stand up on Chenille's neck.

                                   SARA
                   I'll get 'em.

      She does. Chenille's finally got control of Christopher
      but he's still crying. Chenille slips off his dirty
      diaper. When Sara hands her a clean one, Chenille
      regards her strangely, as if just remembering that she's
      there.

                                 CHENILLE
                   So your old man flipped about the
                   fight.
                          (with some animus)
                   Probably thinks it's all Patrick's
                   fault.

                                  SARA
                   No.   I explained about Nikki.

                                 CHENILLE
                   Right. You put it all on her.
                   None of it's on you.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                               99.

156   CONTINUED:                                                     156

                                 SARA
                   She started it, Chenille. She
                   wanted to start it. I told you
                   what she said.

      Chenille flashes a look, finishes up with Christopher.
      She picks him up, puts a bottle in his mouth. Cradles
      him.

                                 CHENILLE
                   Maybe she didn't have no business
                   gettin' in your face. But she had
                   a reason to say what she said.

      A reason?    Sara studies her, trying to fathom the remark.

                                 SARA
                   So you agree with her? You think
                   I don't belong with Patrick.

                                  CHENILLE
                   What I think don't matter. But
                   you and him act like it don't
                   bother people that you're
                   together. Like it don't hurt
                   people to see.

                                 SARA
                          (her Irish up)
                   We like each other. What is the
                   big fucking deal? It's him and
                   me. Not us and other 'people.'

      The white girl with the rose-colored reasoning. Chenille
      glares at Sara, her voice designed to snatch the blinders
      off.

                                CHENILLE
                  Black people, Sara. Black women.
                         (passionately)
                  Patrick's about somethin'. He's
                  smart. He's motivated. He's for
                  real. He ain't gonna make no
                  babies and not take care of 'em or
                  run the streets, fuck up his life.
                  He's gonna do somethin' with
                  himself. Here you come, white and
                  right, and you take one of the few
                  decent men left after jail, drugs
                  and drive-bys. That's what Nikki
                  meant about you up in our world.

      Sara sits there, stupefied.    Understanding.    Not
      understanding.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                               100.

156   CONTINUED:                                                      156

                                 SARA
                   There's only one world, Chenille.
                          (pauses)
                   I thought we were friends. Guess
                   I was wrong.

      She gets up, walks out. Something in Chenille wants to
      call after her, but she's too miserable, too torn up
      inside to do it.


157   INT. FEETZ - BAR - NIGHT                                        157

      Patrick and Malakai nurse drinks. The MUSIC fails to
      move them. They have too much on their minds. Malakai
      fires up a cigarette.

                                 MALAKAI
                   So what you gonna do?

                                 PATRICK
                   How many times you gonna ask me
                   that?

                                 MALAKAI
                   It's payback time. Either you
                   down or you ain't. Either you
                   m'boy or you not. Simple as that.

      Patrick takes a long moment. The choice is simple. It's
      the decision that's complicated. He downs his drink.
      Hedges.

                                 PATRICK
                   Even if I did ride, you ain't got
                   nobody but Lip and Lip will get a
                   nigger's ass killed. Quick.

                             MALAKAI
               Eastside ain't got no firepower.
               I got some shit, man. AK-47. We
               go in, get out with one spray
               down.

      Just then Snookie and Sara walk toward them from the
      dance floor. Something in their faces unsettles Sara but
      Snookie, oblivious, dances up to the bar, snapping his
      fingers and bobbing his head.

                             SNOOKIE
               You see us, Patrick?

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                          101.

157   CONTINUED:                                                 157

                                 MALAKAI
                          (a storm warning)
                   You see us, man? We're rappin'.

      Snookie rebuffs him, keeps talking to Patrick...

                              SNOOKIE
                Me and Sara lit it up!      Y-e-o-w!

      ... bumps his butt against Sarah's hip, does a very
      ungainly half split. Sara and Patrick exchange smiles.
      Malakai isn't amused. He flattens Snookie's ass with the
      business end of his foot. Snookie sprawls flat on his
      face to the floor. Now Malakai's amused. Sara looks at
      Patrick. Patrick scowls at Malakai.

                                 PATRICK
                   That shit ain't funny.

                                 SNOOKIE
                          (springing up)
                   Damn right it ain't funny.

                                 MALAKAI
                   I thought you liked it down there.
                   That's your specialty, ain't it?
                   Crawling?

                              SNOOKIE
                That was a reflex action, man.
                And you just plain rude and wrong
                to bring the shit up in mixed
                company.

      Sara's not quite sure what they're alluding to but she
      doesn't want the displeasure of Malakai's company. She
      taps Patrick.

                              SARA
                I gotta get home. Ready?

      Malakai's eyes slice into her. First Snookie, now this
      bitch. Steppin' all over his conversation with Patrick.

                             MALAKAI
               No, he ain't ready. He's talkin'.
               To me. A-B conversation. Gotta
               go? C yourself the fuck home.

                              SARA
                       (a real reflex action)
                Fuck you.

      Malakai lunges for her. The move is so swift and sudden
      Patrick overturns his stool to dive between them. He
      sweeps Sara behind him, into the path of a startled

      Snookie. Stands there nose-to-nose with Malakai, staring
      him down, furious with him.

                              PATRICK
                Have you lost your motherfuckin'
                MIND, man? Huh? Have you!

      Sara, frightened and frozen, doesn't know what to do.
      Snookie's voice weakly creaks out. He's trying to rise
      to the occasion.

                             SNOOKIE
               Patrick, man, c'mon.

      But Malakai and Patrick stay where they stand. Too close
      for comfort. Both in the danger zone. Malakai regards
      Patrick with a combination of cruel anger and deep,
      genuine hurt.

                             MALAKAI
               You take that bitch's back and
               won't even cover mine?

                             PATRICK
               'Cause you wrong, Malakai!

                             MALAKAI
               No! You wrong. You BEEN wrong.
               You ain't worth shit no more.
                      (venomously)
               Get out my face, and take that ho
               with you.

      Patrick bucks up. Sara walks over to him, gently
      clutches his sleeve. It's no easier to turn away from
      Malakai than it is to walk away from a lifetime of
      friendship. But Patrick does. With Sara holding onto
      his arm, at his side, he turns and walks away.


158   EXT. STREET - SARA AND PATRICK - NIGHT                     158

      walking. A heavy silence. Sara looks over at him.
      Patrick doesn't say anything. But after a moment, he
      reaches down and takes her hand and they walk on like
      this together.

      OVER MUSIC (e.g. BUSTA RHYMES' "Dangerous.")


159   INT. DANCE STUDIO - SARA AND PATRICK - MORNING             159

      Practice her free form, a hip-hop ballet hybrid. They're
      both tired, irritable, beaten down. They've been there
      awhile. Sara makes a misstep. Patrick stops. Cold.
      Sara grits on him.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                                   103.

159   CONTINUED:                                                          159

                                 SARA
                   We should keep going.

                                    PATRICK
                   You messed up.

                                 SARA
                   I know I messed up. I'll get it
                   right the next time.

                             PATRICK
               No. You gonna get it right now so
               you can do it perfect next time.

      She glares at him, exasperated.         So many things bottled
      up.

                                 SARA
                   I can't work like this.      I can't
                   dance like this.

                                PATRICK
               Like what?

                                SARA
               Like this.     You dictating to me.

      He crosses the room, CUTS OFF the MUSIC. Looks at her.
      Sara walks over to a window seat near him. Flops down.

                                 PATRICK
                   What's wrong, Sara?

                                 SARA
                   Nothing's wrong.
                          (except)
                   I can't figure things out.

                                 PATRICK
                   What things? The audition? You
                   ain't got nothin' to worry about.
                   I told you. I'll be there.

                                 SARA
                   Things, Patrick. Things between
                   us. Things between us and them.

                             PATRICK
               I didn't know there was a 'them.'

                                 SARA
                   Well, open your pretty brown eyes,
                   look the hell around.
                                 (MORE)

                                                          (CONTINUED)

                                                               104.

159   CONTINUED:                                                      159

                                 SARA (CONT'D)
                          (he's so nonplussed)
                   Everything's screwed up. Nobody
                   wants to see us together, not even
                   Chenille. I don't know why they
                   feel that way. How can I know?
                   Maybe they have a point, Patrick.

                                 PATRICK
                   They only got a point if you
                   believe they got a point, Sara.

      She looks at him... and loves him... and doesn't know
      what to do.

                                 SARA
                   I'm just saying that we should
                   think about this, that's all.

                                 PATRICK
                   That's a fuckin' 'nough.

                                 SARA
                   Why are you getting mad?

                                 PATRICK
                   Because I like to think for
                   myself, run my own life, and I
                   thought you did too.

      Sara looks at him.     Now she's getting mad.

                                 SARA
                   You're never gonna run your own
                   life as long as you keep running
                   back to Malakai every time he
                   fucks up or fucks you over.

      She's crossed the line. But Patrick responds so
      deliberately, so calmly prosaic, that she doesn't
      immediately realize it...

                                 PATRICK
                   First of all, Malakai ain't never
                   fucked me over. Second of all,
                   you don't know him, Sara, what he
                   been through. Matter of fact, you
                   don't know shit about none of it.
                   So don't come off to me like you
                   do.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                105.

159   CONTINUED:                                                       159

                                 SARA
                   I know he's lost, Patrick!
                   Everybody but you can see that.
                   And if you keep reaching back for
                   him, you're gonna wind up lost
                   too.

      ... until he erupts.

                                 PATRICK
                   Who the fuck are you to say he's
                   lost? Malakai had my back when
                   you were busy gee-whizzin' in the
                   woods with your backward-ass,
                   redneck friends.

                             SARA
               They weren't rednecks!

      Patrick yanks his boombox off the floor, glares at her.

                                    PATRICK
                   You know what?     The hell with you.

      Sara yells after him.     Her VOICE ECHOES in the empty
      studio.

                                 SARA
                   The hell with you too!


160   EXT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY OUTSIDE SARA'S CLASSROOM - 160
      DAY

      Sara exits, looking pretty much like she feels. Like
      shit. She walks a few paces. Sees Patrick. Their eyes
      connect for a brief, awful moment before they continue on
      their respective ways.


161   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - SARA'S LOCKER/HALLWAY -                    161
      LATER THAT DAY

      Sara's at her locker. Patrick walks up to her. She
      looks at him, tries to smile past the dour expression on
      his face.

                                    SARA
                   Hi.

      Patrick doesn't say anything at first.       But then:

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                            106.

161   CONTINUED:                                                    161

                                 PATRICK
                   Thought you might need this on
                   Saturday. I ain't gonna be able
                   to make it.

      He hands her an audio cassette of her free form music.
      Sara gazes at it, then up at him, understanding what this
      means. She won't let him see how it shatters her. He
      hesitates, as if he wants to say something else. But
      Sara turns her back on him and Patrick walks away.


      ANOTHER ANGLE - TONI

      approaching Sara's locker. Having seen the encounter
      between Patrick and Sara, she's as smug and overbearing
      as ever.

                                 TONI
                   Lovers' quarrel? You're better
                   off. That menace to society
                   would've broken your heart and
                   spent all your money in a news
                   flash. Trust me on that, Sara.

      Sara stares at her, uncomprehending at first. She
      resists the urge to slap the smile off Toni's face.   She
      gets in it instead.

                                 SARA
                   Toni, listen carefully. You're a
                   simple bitch and you don't have
                   any friends, black or white,
                   because nobody likes a fucking
                   asshole.

      She storms off leaving Toni, for once, speechless.


162   INT. PATTERSON HIGH - HALLWAY/CAFETERIA - DAY                 162

      Sara. Caught up in a throng of kids and    somehow very
      separate from them. The walls have been    transformed into
      veritable billboards for the senior prom   -- decorations
      are everywhere. Sara continues down the    hallway almost
      aimlessly into the...


163   INT. CAFETERIA - CONTINUOUS ACTION                            163

      Sara. Carrying a food tray, eyes searching for a place
      to sit. She picks up Chenille and her girls at one
      table... Nikki and her crew at another... Patrick and
      Snookie... and, finally, Toni. Sara dumps her food into
      a trash can, walks out.

                                                             107.

164   INT. DANCE STUDIO - DAY                                       164

      Sara. Alone. She pushes the tape from Patrick into an
      ancient recorder. The MUSIC COMES ON. She takes to the
      floor. Her face is like a pinched nerve. She wants to
      cry. She tries to dance.


165   INT. SARA'S ROOM - NIGHT                                      165

      Sara's on the futon, flipping through a photo album.
      Pictures of her and Glynn. Roy knocks on the partition.
      Waits a beat before he comes in. He looks at Sara. She
      keeps flipping.

                              ROY
                I was wondering... how long you
                plan on hating me? Maybe I'm an
                optimist but I hope there's some
                kind of timetable.
                       (this raises a
                        small smile)
                Well, I don't wanna bug you. I
                just came in to say good luck.

      Sara regards him quizzically. Roy goes to her dresser,
      picks up an envelope from Juilliard.

                              ROY
                I saw the return address. Got
                curious. It was open. I read it.
                I know I shouldn't have but at
                least now I have an excuse to tell
                you how proud I am of you, Sara.

                              SARA
                       (quietly miserable)
                I was gonna tell you about the
                audition, Roy. I meant to.

      She's clutching the photo album.    Roy sits down next to
      her.

                              ROY
                Tomorrow's the big day?

                               SARA
                Uh-huh.   The big day.

                               ROY
                You bummed out about it?
                        (as she shakes
                         her head)
                You're a worse liar than I am
                father.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                                   108.

165   CONTINUED:                                                          165

                                 SARA
                   You're not so bad.
                          (close to a
                           confession)
                   I didn't give you much to work
                   with. It's not like I've been the
                   perfect daughter.

                              ROY
                Well, it ain't like I deserve a
                perfect daughter. I screwed up.
                Did everything in a hurry and
                still thought I had all the time
                in the world. To be in love with
                your mother. Be a father to you.
                But time flies. You look up one
                day and all you got to show for
                yourself is a pretty little girl
                who hates your guts and won't talk
                to you because too much time went
                by.

      Sara's eyes well up.    Before she can stop herself,        she's
      crying.

                              SARA
                I don't hate you. I miss her. I
                miss Mom...
                       (as Roy takes her
                        in his arms, tries
                        to console her)
                ... Patrick's pissed at me. I'm
                pissed at him. He's not coming
                tomorrow and I want him there and
                I don't know what to do.

      Sara draws back from Roy, wipes her tears.       Collects
      herself.

                              ROY
                You want him there. I understand
                that. But whatever he brings to
                the table, Patrick can't dance for
                you, Sara. You're the bottom line
                out there. This is your chance to
                be the dancer Juilliard came to
                see.

                              SARA
                I wanted somebody there who loves
                me.

      Roy regards her softly, significantly, the irony
      implicit.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                              109.

165   CONTINUED:                                                     165

                                 ROY
                   I love you.

      Sara looks up.    For the first time in her life, she
      believes him.


166   INT. HOSPITAL - I.C.U. WAITING ROOM/CORRIDOR - EVENING         166

      Patrick's bouncing on his knees, speaking to Arvel's
      parents, who are clearly stricken. Arvel's father,
      stoic, holds his wife's hand. Arvel's mother kneads a
      Kleenex, her face etched with tears. Patrick hugs her.
      Stands up to see Malakai frozen in the doorway, put off
      by the palpable grief. Patrick crosses over to him.
      They retreat quietly into the corridor, their concern for
      Arvel a shaky ground for conciliation.

                                 MALAKAI
                   Why his mom's cryin' like that?
                   Arvel's gonna make it, right?
                   That what's his nurse said. She
                   told me herself, 'Your friend's
                   gonna make it.' Did that bitch
                   lie to me! Talk to me, Patrick!
                   Is he gone?

      Patrick steers Malakai away from the waiting room, backs
      him against a wall and, in a gentle but firm way, holds
      him there.

                                 PATRICK
                   They just got bad news, man. They
                   don't need to hear it again.
                          (trying to be
                           strong; faltering)
                   Arvel's fightin'. He's gonna pull
                   through. Thing is, when he does,
                   they don't think... he ain't...
                   shit. Arvel ain't gonna walk
                   again.

      In that moment, whatever's left of Malakai's soul
      crumbles. He looks at Patrick with aggrieved disbelief
      and then a building anger. A stronger man would probably
      cry.

      Patrick eases his grip. Malakai straightens his body,
      cocks his head slightly. Studies Patrick in this
      crooked, derisive way.

                                 MALAKAI
                   I got a good reason now, man?
                                 (MORE)

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                               110.

166   CONTINUED:                                                      166

                                 MALAKAI (CONT'D)
                          (off Patrick's silence)
                   Aw'ight, college boy. You do what
                   you think is the right thing.
                   I'ma do what I know is the only
                   thing.

      He starts to walk off, doesn't get far before Patrick
      calls out.

                                 PATRICK
                   Malakai...
                          (a fleeting hesitation)
                   ... When it's on, I'll be there.


167   EXT. PLAYGROUND (O'DONNELL HEIGHTS PARK) - DAY                  167

      Groups of children scatter around worn-out playground
      equipment. The gleeful squeal of them is everywhere.
      Patrick guides Christopher down a slide; Chenille catches
      him at the bottom. Christopher can't get enough of this
      ride and Patrick and Chenille repeat the routine
      throughout their conversation.

                                 CHENILLE
                   Why you so quiet?
                          (off Patrick's
                           brooding look)
                   Patrick Reynolds ain't got nothin'
                   to say? That's a first.
                          (catches her son
                           with a whee!; then)
                   You know how I go off on folks
                   sometimes. I mean it and then I
                   don't mean it. Like what I said
                   to Sara. Guess she told you.

                                 PATRICK
                          (monotone)
                   I don't care what you said,
                   Chenille.

                                 CHENILLE
                   Patrick. Your ass is on your back
                   and your lips are on the ground.
                   You care, baby brother. And not
                   just about what I said.
                          (as he looks at her)
                   You seriously like Sara. She got
                   a serious jones for you. Am I
                   lyin'?

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                                111.

167   CONTINUED:                                                       167

                                 PATRICK
                   It's besides the point. Whatever
                   point it is you tryin' to make.

                              CHENILLE
                I'm sayin' you can't help who you
                love, Patrick. At least you found
                somebody who loves you back.

      Patrick regards Chenille impassively.    Hands Christopher
      to her.

                                PATRICK
                I gotta go.

                              CHENILLE
                To where? To who? Malakai?
                       (sucks her teeth)
                You ain't through with that fool
                yet.

                              PATRICK
                He's not a fool, Chenille.

                              CHENILLE
                No. You know what? You're the
                fool, Patrick. You think you let
                Malakai down and all you did was
                try to pull yourself up. Ain't no
                blame or shame in that.

                                 PATRICK
                          (very low; a broken smile)
                   I still gotta go. Check you
                   later.

      Holding Christopher, Chenille watches Patrick walk out of
      the playground. Disappear. She and Christopher move on
      to a seesaw. Chenille bobs him up and down on one end of
      it. She's snuggling in Christopher's face when the other
      end suddenly drops to the ground. Chenille looks up.
      Sees Kenny.


168   EXT. PLAYGROUND - SWINGS - CHENILLE AND KENNY - LATER            168

      They're side by side on swings. Christopher's nestled
      against Kenny's chest, soundly snoozing. They slowly
      swing throughout.

                                 KENNY
                   It cut me, what you said.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                                     112.

168   CONTINUED:                                                            168

                                 CHENILLE
                          (means this)
                   I shouldn't have... I was
                   trippin'.

                                 KENNY
                   You always trip. I'm used to
                   that. Besides, you were right.
                   You were wrong, too. So was I. I
                   need to do better. Ain't no doubt
                   about that.

                                 CHENILLE
                   I know I come down on you hard
                   about money, but I would rather
                   you spend the time. Seriously.

                             KENNY
                      (jokingly)
               So you don't want any money?

                             CHENILLE
               I didn't say all that.

      He smiles. Gently rubs Christopher's brow.          Looks at
      her. Chenille smiles at him.

                                 KENNY
                   I love my son, Chenille.    You know
                   that, don't you?

                                  CHENILLE
                   Yeah.   I always knew that.


169   EXT. BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS - ESTABLISHING               169
      SHOT - SATURDAY EVENING

      of the building, the downtown skyline, etc.


170   INT. BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS - AUDITORIUM -               170
      SAME TIME

      The house lights      are on. Several seats in the front row
      are taken up by      judges for Juilliard. Further back are
      the families and      friends of other dancers. PUSH IN and
      FAVOR Roy among      them.


171   INT. BACKSTAGE AREA - SARA                                            171

      Warming up, other dancers, all in costume, around her.
      Her eyes wander from the clock to the stage door.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                            113.

171   CONTINUED:                                                   171

      A sign on it reads: "JUILLIARD SCHOOL OF DANCE -
      BALTIMORE AUDITIONS." She stares at it, fingers the
      clover leaf necklace with an unsettling sense of deja vu.


      ANGLE - WOMAN

      with a PINCE-NEZ with a clipboard, navigating among the
      dancers with a clipboard. She calls out:

                                  PINCE-NEZ
                   Johnson.   Sara Johnson...


172   EXT. STREET (O'DONNELL HEIGHTS) - NIGHT                      172

      Patrick's waiting on the sidewalk. Malakai pulls up in
      Tute's BMW. Lip's in the backseat. Patrick gets into
      the car. It takes off down the street.


173   EXT./INT. STREET - BMW - DRIVING - NIGHT                     173

      RAP MUSIC blasts ON the RADIO. No one in the car is
      saying anything. Malakai has a "40" between his legs.
      He sips from it, passes it to Patrick. Patrick takes a
      short swig, passes it back to Lip. As he does this, a
      set of keys fall out of his jacket into his lap. Patrick
      picks them up. Looks at the key chain, his present from
      Sara. He looks at Malakai.

                             PATRICK
               Pull over.
                      (as Malakai glances at
                       him, not understanding)
               This ain't helpin' nobody, 'Kai.
               I'm out. I mean it. Stop the
               car.

                                 LIP
               Awww, shit.      Here we go.

                             MALAKAI
                      (furious)
               What you mean you out? You think
               I'ma let your punk ass bail on me
               again?

      Patrick starts to open the door. Malakai speeds up. The
      CAR CAREENS down the street, SQUEALS around corners.
      Finally comes to a red light. Stops. Patrick starts to
      open the door. Malakai grabs him by the jacket. Pulls
      his gun. Patrick looks at Malakai and now he sees him.
      Sees that he's lost and desperate... and dangerous.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                                 114.

173   CONTINUED:                                                        173

                                 PATRICK
                   What you gonna do, 'Kai? You
                   gonna shoot me? Go ahead! You'll
                   have to!

                                  LIP
                   Let him out!   We don't need him.

                              MALAKAI
                Shut the fuck up.

      Patrick jerks himself loose. Opens the door. Malakai
      cocks the gun. Patrick's face flinches at the sound of
      it. He can feel it trained on his back as he gets out
      the car. But Malakai can't do it. Wouldn't do it. He
      takes off like a bat out of hell.


174   EXT. STREET                                                       174

      Patrick heads down the street. As he walks, he can hear
      the sound of GUNFIRE behind him, and then the sound like
      an EXPLOSION. A CAR HORN goes off in a persistent drone.
      Patrick stops. Stands there for a moment. Then he's
      walking again. Without looking back. And then he's
      running away from the mayhem behind him.


175   EXT. STREET - SAME TIME                                           175

      The BMW's tangled around a street lamp. Inside Malakai
      slumps over the steering wheel, a bullet through his
      head.


176   INT. BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS - AUDITORIUM -           176
      NIGHT

      Pince-Nez leads Sara to the stage.      Announces her.

      Sara walks onstage.

      She nods down at the judges, looks out into the audience.
      Her eyes anxiously search for Patrick... hoping. Her
      MUSIC begins.

      Grieg's Peer Gynt (Morning). Sara starts to sway, moving
      like an angel through the soft cloud of this music. Her
      line, proportion and balance are impeccable.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                            115.

176   CONTINUED:                                                   176

      Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (Tanz der Schwane) begins and
      Sara slowly blossoms, opening herself up to the music
      like a flower. She completes every turn and twist and
      leap with confidence, energy and persuasion. She is
      doing what a dancer should do -- engaging the audience,
      igniting their imagination, drawing them in.


      ANGLE - JUDGES

      perking up, taking notes, attentive to her.


      SARA

      finishes with a flawless arabesque.      Looks out.


      REVERSE ANGLE - JUDGES

      One of the more imperious-appearing JUDGES removes his
      glasses, speaks to her. Sara's still trying to catch her
      breath.

                              STERN JUDGE
                You prepared a free-form?

                              SARA
                Yes... sir... they have... my
                music.

                              JUDGE
                Does it have a theme?

                              SARA
                Yes.  Emo...
                       (clears her throat)
                Emotion.

      The Judge turns around, shouts to someone we can't see:

                                 STERN JUDGE
                   Cue Johnson's music.

      MUSIC UP: A remix of hip-hop (e.g., LAURYN'S HILL'S doo
      wop; NAS'S "We Will Survive" and JAY Z's latest) and
      snatches of CLASSICAL.


      SARA

      stands there. Doesn't move. Can't. She finally walks
      up to the edge of the stage. Looks down at the judges,
      her eyes filled with trepidation. Her voice is a shaky
      whisper.
                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                                   116.

176   CONTINUED:                                                          176

                                 SARA
                   I'm sorry. I wasn't ready.       Can
                   you start it over again?


      REVERSE ANGLE

      The Judge waving off the MUSIC.      It STOPS.      He regards
      Sara impatiently.

                                 STERN JUDGE
                   Are you ready now?

      Before she can respond, Patrick's voice booms from the
      back of the auditorium.

                                   PATRICK (O.S.)
                   Yes, sir.    She's ready.

      ANGLE WIDENS to reveal him coming forward. Rushing for
      the stage. He pauses at the apron of it. Looks up at
      Sara. She peers down at him, astounded. Shaken. He
      smiles at her. She smiles back. Patrick's eyes softly
      take her in.

                                  PATRICK
                   You can do it.
                          (because)
                   Ain't nobody watchin' you but me.

      Sara's eyes focus on him.       She nods.     Turns to the
      judges.

                                   SARA
                   I'm ready.

      As her MUSIC cues up, Patrick slowly backs away from the
      stage.

      Sara begins to dance.

      She starts out strong and gets stronger. Every emotion
      she feels, every experience she's had, comes to life in a
      way that we've never seen before, not even when she was
      practicing with Patrick. Her body has finally found a
      way to get inside this kind of music, to elevate its
      meaning and transform her dance.

      The MUSIC ENDS.     The lights go up.

      Sara stands in the middle of the stage breathless,
      sweating. She lifts her head slowly and the ANGLE WIDENS
      to reveal --

                                                          (CONTINUED)

                                                                 117.

176   CONTINUED:                                                        176

      Patrick letting out a giant whoop...

      The judges react and the audience gasps...

      ... as he bounds onto the stage and...

      Roy jumps to his feet.      Proudly and loudly clapping.
      Just like Glynn.

      ANGLE - SARA

      overwhelmed beyond belief. Patrick's coming toward her.
      She flies into his arms, free and happy, overjoyed. But
      the triumph of her performance and the sheer bliss of the
      moment are transcended by something deeper and clearer,
      which is her love for Patrick.


      JUDGES

      struggling to maintain their and the proceeding's
      decorum, since the audience, caught up in the throes of
      this excitement, has begun to loudly, enthusiastically
      react.

                                 STERN JUDGE
                   Ladies and gentlemen, please!
                          (to Patrick)
                   Young man! Get off the stage.

      WIDER to reveal the room.

      Patrick hugging Sara, looks down at the judges.

                              PATRICK
                All due respect, if ya'll don't
                let this girl in, you're crazy!

      Sara pulls Patrick back. Walks alone to the edge of the
      stage, composed and professional again. She regards the
      judges with a beaming resolve and a ballerina's curtsy,
      then simply says:

                                  SARA
                   Thank you.   Very much.

                                  STERN JUDGE
                   Ms. Johnson!

      Sara stops.    Turns back to him.      The Judge smiles.

                                 STERN JUDGE
                   I can't say this on the record --
                   yet. But welcome to Juilliard.

                                                       (CONTINUED)

                                                               118.

176   CONTINUED:                                                      176

      SARA'S FACE

      lovely and radiant as it breaks into a cheek-to-cheek
      smile. WIDER as she walks slowly, deliberately back to
      Patrick. Stops. Looks at him. Just looks. And then
      she throws her arms around his neck, kissing and hugging
      him. Emotional. Patrick swings her into the air, twirls
      her around and around, as we:

                                                   DISSOLVE TO:


177   INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - SENIOR PROM - NIGHT                       177

      OVER SLOW MUSIC (possible theme song):

      Sara (in a gown) and Patrick (in a tux). Dancing (as if
      they had danced from the last FRAME INTO this one). They
      are beautiful.

      WIDER to reveal the entire dance floor...

      And we see that it's the senior prom.

      The room's dressed up like a dreamy, futuristic romantic
      illusion. The ceiling's ablaze with tiny, star-like
      lights; under them large poufs of cotton clouds hang.
      Glittering, mirrored balls dangle over the main floor.

      Seniors dance in traditional and cutting edge tuxes and
      mouth-watering, eye-popping versions of dresses and
      gowns. CAMERA PANS the floor, PICKING UP:

      A surprisingly dashing Snookie and the fly girl. As they
      dance, he bravely but rather too abruptly dips her...

      Diggy (in a glitter tuxedo and spiked hair) and her
      date...

      Nikki with whom we shall perceive to be the Howard
      University guy. In any event, he looks slightly bored.

      Chenille with Kenny, smiles at Sara as she and Patrick
      dance by.

      CAMERA FAVORS and PUSHES IN ON...

      Sara and Patrick. Gazing at each other.     The SONG ENDS
      with them in each other's arms.

                                                   FADE OUT.




                              THE END


Save the Last Dance



Writers :   Duane G. Adler  Toni-Ann Johnson  Cheryl Edwards
Genres :   Drama  Romance


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